The word “inquisition” contains various shades of meaning according to intention. In general, it means to be curious, but sometimes curiosity can go too far, so inquisition becomes synonymous with being nosy or prying. This blog post is about the other end of the spectrum, where inquisition takes on the highly positive qualities of being eager for knowledge and being intellectually curious.
In his book, “Are There Any Questions: Living and Leading with an Inquisitive Spirit”, author David Anthony Clarke, Sr., writes:
“We’re only as good as the questions we ask. They determine the decisions we make as we live and lead. People who have changed the world, like Leonardo da Vinci, Aristotle, Albert Einstein, and George Washington Carver, have done so because they questioned things other people took for granted. The future belongs to leaders who will not only lead with an inquisitive spirit, but will surround themselves with curious people as well.”
Being a good leader requires being curious about the people around you. If you are authentically interested in others, with a genuine desire to serve, then being inquisitive and asking caring, open-ended questions demonstrates to your friend, partner, client or whoever that you are listening and serving from the heart. This curiosity drives me to ask questions through love and care, leading to “Why do you do what you do?” and “What are you really willing to do to get there?” These questions may seem personal, but they are asked with the intention of helping others reach their highest potential.
I, too, appreciate inquisitive minds, in constant search of answers and in pursuit of making sense of the world. I love those who thirst for learning opportunities and who have the emotional courage to ask tough questions. As I learn about people—what makes them tick and how they like to be served—I find that being inquisitive is a cornerstone of my own personality. It is part of why I love leadership. It is what has led me on this journey of becoming a servant leadership coach. Learning that some of the most creative minds in history have been driven by an inquisitive spirit only adds to the encouragement and motivation of keeping on this path of wonderful exploration and discovery.
Thank you for joining me along the way.