Correct or Curious?

Would you rather be curious, or correct?

I remember hearing someone describe a lesson he was taught as a child: “It’s better to be nice than to be right.”

I was shocked. Is it? (That is clearly not a childhood lesson I learned. Our family is perhaps too good at being “right.”)

This idea really turns the attention outward, doesn’t it? How different it is to be in conversation with someone who asks questions rather than making pronouncements.

More recently, as I have been researching curious leadership for the next installment of Wiser by Choice, I was challenged to go deeper in this vein by Hal Gregersen’s Questions are the Answer. He describes inquiry-based learning within classrooms as having failed to increase the number of questions asked by students, instead increasing the questions asked by teachers! I wonder if a question asked by someone else is more likely to make me curious, compared to one I ask myself?

This deeply challenged my thinking as a group facilitator. I love asking questions. But what if I were to reframe my role as helping groups ask better questions rather than answer the insightful questions I pride myself in bringing to them?

Maybe accelerating curiosity in others should compel me to ask less rather than more…

3 Replies to “Correct or Curious?”

  1. Fascinating. Perhaps a question that prompts the other to ask a question would lead more to curiosity. As in, “what questions does this bring up?” might lead others to consider questions themselves.

    1. Yes! As a colleague recently suggested to me, there’s a difference between asking, “Do you have any questions?” and “What questions do you have?”

  2. Hi Rebecca :
    I think one of the keys is asking questions that challenge people and show you’re really interested in them as a whole .

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