Be Curious

Jody N Holland
2 min readSep 19, 2023
Woman looking with curiosity

Life is full of possibilities for the curious mind. Walt Whitman once wrote, “Be curious, not judgemental.” Whitman had seen the ravages of war and how one side could be made to hate another. He had seen how damaging it could be to look at a person or a situation and make a judgment rather than seeking to understand. I believe that was true during his time and is still true during our time. I also think that those who truly lead others will follow this idealogy of curiosity rather than judgment.

To lead from a place of curiosity is to seek to understand another person before trying to make sure they understand you. This leadership curiosity allows us to solve problems in an innovative and novel way. It also keeps our minds calm because we don’t make up “worst-case-scenario” stories. Those who judge tend to seek ways to “not lose” and ways to stick with what has been done before. But those who are curious, seek ways to solve the problem in the most effective manner possible.

One of the questions I ask of leaders in both planning sessions and in problem-solving sessions is how they would solve a challenge if they had no experience in the area being addressed. To me, this brings the wonder and curiosity of a childlike mind to the table and allows us to simply play with the problem. According to Dr. Keith Sawyer, the 4th stage of the creative process is to simply play. ( Play releases the need to win and the fear of losing. It allows us to simply embrace the experience. This makes a significant difference in the engagement of teams.

Leaders hold the power of culture in their hands. They hold the power to inspire their people or limit them. Being curious and being willing to play with a problem gives employees the freedom to allow their inspiration to guide them. I believe our capacity for fulfillment at work is rooted in our ability to be curious about how else we can serve a customer and solve an important problem. When we look at our teams and seek to understand them, to engage with them, and to be curious about their potential, we tend to find it. But when we judge, we limit. What will you focus on as a leader? Will you be curious or judgmental?

You’ve got this!

Jody N. Holland, M.S. Psychology



Jody N Holland

Family, Focus, and Future… I love to write, speak, train, and coach on leadership and personal growth. Author of 23 books and keynote speaker 350+ times.