Curiosity as a Team Management Strategy: Get Curious, Not Furious

Anil PatelPublished: Updated:

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“All good managers know that rudeness and impatience cause team members to lose respect for leadership and also that these reactions undermine team morale. I quickly realized that I had made a significant management strategy mistake, and felt badly about my behavior.”

Get Curious, Not Furious: Why Curiosity is a Better Management Strategy than Reactivity

During a recent meeting about our in-progress Point of Sale application project, our developers wanted to discuss the Shift Closing workflow. My original intention was to discuss this with them as they had requested. However, as the discussion began, I noticed some UX issues.
Management Mistake: The Anger Angle
It seemed to me that these issues should have been obvious. I overreacted to the situation, became angry, and told the developers (in a rude and impatient tone) to go fix the issues before asking me to discuss other aspects of the project. All good managers know that rudeness and impatience cause team members to lose respect for leadership and also that these reactions undermine team morale. I quickly realized that I had made a significant mistake, and felt badly about my behavior. I took immediate measures to apologize. And then I took some time to reflect. What, I asked myself, could I have done differently?
Management Strategy: Thoughtful Question vs. Cutting Comment
Upon reflection, I realized that curiosity was the missing element. Had I taken a curious approach to the situation, I would have asked myself how it could be that competent and trustworthy developers were presenting me with work that included UX deficiencies. Had I followed this line of curiosity, I would have learned that additional training was needed.  The team members had not been negligent or careless. They simply lacked knowledge. Now that the problem has been identified, I’ve taken measures to provide additional training. I’ve also taken a long, hard look at myself in regard to how I interact with my team, and have resolved to continually remind myself that a thoughtful question is always a better approach than a cutting comment.

Anil Patel About Anil Patel
Anil Patel is COO at HotWax Systems as well as an OFBiz project committer, PMC member, and active community contributor. He also studies yoga. Anil will join other HotWax Systems team members and advisors in periodically posting thoughts here related to OFBiz, eCommerce, ERP, and other related topics.

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