Curiosity: The Greatest Gift for Effective Leadership with Sarah Noll Wilson

November 21, 2023

Developing self-awareness and emotional regulation skills is essential for effective leadership.

Podcast-HR Mixtape
Subscribe to HR Mixtape Now:


In this episode of the HR Mixtape podcast, host Shari Simpson interviews Sarah Noll Wilson, an expert in leadership development. They discuss common challenges HR professionals face when it comes to developing effective leadership skills. Sarah highlights the burnout and emotional fatigue experienced by HR professionals and emphasizes the importance of self-care. They also explore the trap of confusing knowing with doing and the need for HR professionals to practice what they teach.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Curiosity is a core skill for effective leadership. Being curious allows leaders to understand different perspectives, embrace experimentation, and increase self-awareness.
  2. Developing first-time managers requires a holistic approach. HR professionals should include and invite as many team members as possible in leadership development opportunities to build essential skills throughout the organization.
  3. Conflict avoidance is harmful to organizational culture. Leaders should embrace difficult conversations and approach conflict as a conversation rather than a confrontation. Creating a culture where conflict is seen as an opportunity for growth and learning is crucial.

Sarah Noll Wilson is on a mission to help leaders build and rebuild teams. Her goal is to empower leaders to understand and honor the beautiful complexity of the humans they serve. Through her work as an executive coach, an in-demand keynote speaker, researcher, contributor to Harvard Business Review, and bestselling author of “Don’t Feed the Elephants,” Sarah helps leaders close the gap between what they intend to do and the actual impact they make. She hosts the podcast “Conversations on Conversations,” is certified in Co-Active Coaching, Conversational Intelligence, and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities. In addition to her work with organizations, Sarah is a passionate advocate for mental health.

Sarah creates a safe, honest environment, preparing people to deal with real-world conflict, have more meaningful conversations, and create purposeful relationships. Working with CEOs, Human Resources leaders, and organizations that care deeply about their employees and understand the connection between employee development, employee satisfaction and organizational success, Sarah specializes in transforming relationships from good to great.

With 15+ years in leadership development, Sarah earned a master’s degree from Drake University in Leadership Development and a BA from the University of Northern Iowa in Theatre Performance and Theatre Education – no wonder clients love the energy she brings to their teams! When she isn’t helping people build and rebuild relationships, she enjoys playing games with her husband Nick and cuddling with their fur baby, Sally.


Shari Simpson

Senior Manager Thought Leadership

Sarah Noll Wilson

Executive Coach, an in-demand Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Contributor to Harvard Business Review, and Bestselling Author of “Don’t Feed the Elephants”
Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc

Level Up Employee Performance

Help your employees unlock their true potential with modern performance management tools. From goal management to personalized performance review and Journals, our solutions facilitate transparent, two-communication and get your workforce involved in their own development. Employees want to grow and expect ongoing support - give it to them with Performance Management from Paylocity.

Develop Talent