Ian Leslie is a London-based journalist and author of critically acclaimed books about human behavior. He is currently writing a new book on “productive disagreement”, which will be published in 2020. Ian also created, wrote and performed in the BBC radio comedy Before They Were Famous. Ian appears as a commentator on current affairs and culture for the BBC, Sky, and NPR. Ian co-hosts a podcast on political disagreements called Polarised alongside Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA,
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The Learning Leader Show
“Really great listeners become great communicators.”
- Leaders who sustain excellence =
- Have the ability to think about their own thinking — Step outside and reflect
- Know that you’ll say “I don’t know” frequently
- Breadth — A range of interests
- Interested in building knowledge and an awareness that it might not pay off (and being ok with that)
- Ian built his life around curiosity — He was a strategist for ad agencies. He needed to deeply understand his clients. That is a job built on curiosity.
- “I am a curiosity driven writer.”
- Children are born curious… “People are born with habits/knowledge to survive.” And then they stop. There’s no evolutionary impulse to keep going.
- It becomes a conscious choice to cognitive resources and time
- The two types of curiosity
- Diversive: Hunger for new information. It comes from an information gap. Agatha Christie understands how to create an information gap to keep you turning the page
- Epistemic: Desire to acquire knowledge/build/assimilate into networks in your brain. It requires discipline. It’s engendered. It’s diversive curiosity grown up.
- “There is a rising premium on people with a high need for cognition.” NFC (need for cognition) is a scientific measure of intellectual curiosity
- “Taking action. Doing… is a form of learning. They are intertwined.”
- Reflecting on own habits — use self as a lab experiment… Then talk with others.
- Empathically curious — Being curious about what’s inside of other person’s head. How they think and feel.
- “You’re going to be come a better communicator being a better listener.”
- Atul Gawande — Ask the unscripted question. Make a human connection.
- Have 10% of your brain switched on to “Am I talking too much?”
- How to have productive disagreements:
- Don’t avoid it
- Have disagreements we both can live with
- “You’ll have more productive disagreement if you’re curious about the other person.”
- People who have a higher level of scientific curiosity… They don’t rush to judgement. Think, “Oh, I wonder why I think that?”
- “Nobody has trained us in how to disagree with each other.”
- “You have this choice in judgement and curiosity.”
- Life/Career advice: “Be interested in everything. Go deep in one area.”
- Have core people in your life and foster the weak ties.
- Everyone is born curious. But only some retain the habits of exploring, learning and discovering as they grow older. Which side of the “curiosity divide” are you on?
- Use the “Get To Know You Document“
- Why joining The Learning Leader Circle is a good idea
“Relay experience. Don’t give advice.”
- Read: Curious
- Follow Ian on Twitter: @mrianleslie
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