Fostering Curiosity: 6 Tips to Buffer against Burnout


“Curiosity” is in the spotlight in the latest issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR) (September/October 2018), with several articles exploring aspects of this theme related to managing people, psychology, and leadership development. One key component of curiosity is a “growth mindset,” which drives engagement, resilience, and is a powerful buffer against burnout.

At Leadership Worth Following, new research with our DRiV™ personality assessment tool confirms this position, based on assessments spanning dozens of organizations. We’ve found that people are more effectively buffered against burnout if they are naturally driven to learn (high Growth driver), can cope with mistakes and embarrassment (low Caution driver), and who easily let things go (high Forgiveness driver).

Here are 6 tips to consider for fostering curiosity and a growth mindset:

1 Start with Authenticity: Know Yourself.

Growth-oriented people tend to be honest with themselves. They know who they are, what they want, and what helps or hinders them in achieving their goals. This self-awareness and internal honesty make growth easier, because these people clearly understand their strengths and weaknesses, and are comfortable being themselves.

2 Assess Your Knowledge: Seek New Perspectives.

As you take an authentic look at yourself, honestly evaluate what you know – and don’t know. What are your areas of expertise? What biases do you bring to the table? Relish seeking out new perspectives and adding to your breadth and depth of wisdom. It can help you grow.

3 Dial Back Your Caution: Failure is Not Final.

Growth-oriented people are not afraid of personal embarrassment or failure from time to time. Practice seeing failures not as an attack on your authentic self or self-worth. Rather, allow failure to help identify gaps between your impact and your authentic self. In other words, failures can help you grow into a more authentic version of yourself.

4 Thou Shalt Not Compare: Compete Only with Yourself.

Resist the temptation to compare yourself against others. Doing so can either cause unnecessary stress (if comparison point is too high) or demotivation (if reference point is too low). Growth-oriented people tend to gauge their status or progress primarily against themselves.

5 Question Your Assumptions: Think Outside Box.

Second-guessing your own and others’ assumptions will force you to ask new questions, see things in a new light, and learn new things. After all, growth is difficult if you never let yourself out of “the box.”

6 Practice Forgiveness: Start with Yourself.

Go easy on others and apply that mindset to yourself as well. This is not about being lazy, but about not dwelling on mistakes. Instead, congratulate yourself on learning from your failure and creatively brainstorm how to improve going forward. This solution-focused mindset and forgiveness will make failure much more productive.


More about the DRiV

Along with a unique ranking of each person’s 32 drivers, the DRiV can help identify what people believe they should do, what they want to do, and what they will do in a given situation. By evaluating what drives and drains people in their careers, the DRiV can help predict optimal leadership styles, determine effective team composition, and implement more engaging work practices. Click here to learn more about the DRiV.