Are you a curious worker? You’re probably getting on your boss’ nerves

According to recent research conducted by Harvard Business Review, curious employees are often perceived by their leaders as insubordinate and less likable. The publication conducted several studies involving over 900 leaders and employees from various sectors and found that curious employees were often seen as pestering rule breakers. However, when combined with political skill, curiosity did not have the same negative impact. In fact, curious and politically skilled employees were perceived as creative problem solvers and high performers.

The key takeaway from the research is that it's not the act of asking questions, but rather how those questions are asked that makes the difference. The study also emphasized the importance of political skills in the workplace, highlighting that being politically savvy and diplomatic can mitigate the negative perceptions associated with curiosity.

The findings suggest that curious employees should assess their own political skills and the nature of their questions, ensuring that they are perceived as constructive. It's advisable for them to be cautious about the timing and frequency of their inquiries and consider whether they could have found the answers through independent research. Additionally, employees can benefit from training, role-playing, and coaching to enhance their political skills.

On the other hand, the research also advises leaders to be careful not to unfairly penalize curious employees who are genuinely seeking knowledge and improvement for the organization. It's essential for leaders to examine any biases, including unconscious ones, that may lead to misjudging employees who express curiosity in a constructive manner.  

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