There are a few qualities that all employers look for in job candidates, regardless of the field or the role Communication is one of the most widely applicable skills as it is always useful that a worker knows how to relate to and exchange information with peers and superiors. Likewise, almost all organizations are eager to hire workers adept at problem-solving, as these workers will typically need less oversight and intervention from managers. Qualities like honesty, dedication, reliability and integrity are exceedingly valuable across industries and jobs.
Yet, there is one qualification that employers rarely seek yet always benefit from curiosity. Here is why curiosity is the key to career success and why more leaders and workers alike should pursue curiosity inside and outside the workplace.
Curiosity Is Linked to Intellectual and Emotional Intelligence
Curiosity is not merely a skill that in itself is beneficial, like the ability to communicate effectively or proficiency with Microsoft Office. Rather, curiosity is a quality that drives change within a person. As a result, the most curious members of society also tend to be the most intelligent, both intellectually and emotionally, because their curiosity drives them to better understand themselves and the world around them.
Research on curiosity has consistently found links between this quality and high IQ and high EQ. Every role within an organization benefits from these qualifications. Greater intellect can help a worker overcome challenges and solve problems without assistance, and from greater empathy and emotional savvy aid, workers are better able to navigate interpersonal relationships and avoid conflict.
Curious People Have Better Relationships
Because curiosity drives a person to ask questions and engage with almost every aspect of their surroundings, curious people tend to be more open with the people they meet, leading to the development of deeper, stronger relationships. Aided by curiosity, individuals are eager to get to know those around them on a more intimate level, which — in a workplace setting — allows them to better understand how to communicate with and work alongside their peers more productively. Curiosity can also help people identify the qualities within themselves that might be negatively impacting relationships, which will again reduce the likelihood of conflict and lead to positive personal growth for all parties.
Curiosity Increases Stress Tolerance
Even when a person is engaged in work they feel passionate about, they are apt to experience stress. While some stress can encourage an individual to focus on difficult tasks and tackle new, exciting challenges, a significant amount of stress can have serious effects on physical and mental health. Workers who feel perpetually stressed have the potential to burn out, become disengaged and suffer a slew of other negative outcomes for themselves and their employers.
Yet, curious workers are less likely to experience such negative impacts of stress. Ample research has found that those who regularly invest in their curiosity tend to have a much higher tolerance of stress and develop less intense reactions to acute and chronic stressors. Thus, a curious employee can harness the positive power of stress without suffering the negatives, enabling them to be more productive in all environments.
Curious People Have Fewer Cognitive Biases
To err is human, but curiosity can help an individual avoid the errors that commonly lead to flawed decisions. In particular, people tend to be susceptible to various cognitive biases, like anchoring bias, confirmation bias, in-group bias and availability bias, that influence their ability to think through issues and develop solutions to problems. Curious people tend to question their initial ideas rather than leaping to action; they opt to research various potential decisions to identify the objective best course, which saves them from costly errors in decision-making. Because cognitive biases can be dangerous in any role, curiosity is an essential quality for all.
Businesses need to foster curiosity in the workforce to take advantage of all the benefits that curiosity can bring. Encouraging workers to enroll in online short courses, modeling inquisitiveness in interactions, emphasizing goals related to learning and personal growth, and providing workers with space to consider and explore can help increase curiosity levels across an organization. Curiosity is beneficial to everyone, in all organizations and all roles, so the more businesses do to foster curiosity, the better.