Aleta Maxwell

Get Curious as a Leader

My third tip to becoming a confident leader is to GET CURIOUS.

Much like my number one tip, this advice goes against the grain on what our culture tells leaders they should do.  

Leaders “should” be the experts, right? Therefore, if we as leaders are supposed to be the experts, our communication will likely not involve a lot of curiosity.  

Is curiosity a sign of weak leadership in your mind?  

I don’t think so. Let me tell you why curiosity is the key to being a confident leader and instilling confidence in those you are developing.  

Without curiosity, you are left to your own assumptions and all your communication and problem solving will be derived from your assumptions.  

I have a client working in her dream job. She loves the company and what they stand for and believes whole-heartedly in the mission. And yet, she’s thinking of looking for other opportunities. Why? Because her manager enters situations with a set of assumptions that she then spends her energy and time breaking down and proving wrong so they can come to some real solutions based on facts. This manager is not curious, but quickly formulates a story in his mind, comes up with a solution based on that story, then tells his team what he thinks they should do. You can see how this could be frustrating and lead to burnout of his employees. If he got curious and asked questions from the beginning, he would be working in reality and could spend his time brainstorming with his team to the best possible solution for their obstacle. Instead he forces his team to have to convince him that his assumptions are wrong.   

Don’t be this type of leader! This is ego at work, not confidence.  

Halting our own narratives and assumptions will result in:        

  • Faster and more efficient problem solving by getting the facts straight from the beginning. Very rarely do we know the root cause of any situation. Being curious allows us to get clear on the facts, then formulate questions to fill in the gaps. This is such gold in leadership development and communication. We think that if we become great on assuming correctly, we can be efficient leaders…but this is false. More times than not, your assumptions will be wrong, even if you are a seasoned leader.

  • Space given to our team to state their thoughts and insights which will make them feel valued and will bring out some amazing solutions you’ve never thought of!

  • Team buy-in when a solution is found, because they were in on the process. When we ask questions rather than assume, we are forced to listen to our team. This space to truly hear our teams’ thoughts and insights will lead to so much more buy-in when a solution is found. A team that feels heard will have more ability to follow a plan of action than one who doesn’t feel heard at all.      

  • Helpful information for the moment as well as when future problems arise. This type of curious communication also develops your team to be aware of the solutions for the future, preparing them to deal with issues on their own and freeing you from doing so.    

  • Less burnout and turnover from a team that might be incredibly talented. I always find it amazing how many people look for other opportunities solely based on dissatisfaction with their supervisor. Communicate in a way that builds up your team and develops them to keep rising so you also, can keep rising.    

  • Development of your team’s communication and leadership by setting the example of what confident leadership looks like.  When we can stop our mind from assuming and creating a false narrative, we can then get curious as to all we don’t know. Curiosity will allow you to get to the root cause of the matter, which can then bring about transformation and creative solutions to the true obstacle. This also builds the foundation of trust that is needed for any team to be successful in a sustainable way.


Imagine how building this type of communication, problem-solving and trust building will help you become an incredibly confident leader.  

I speak a lot about these principles in my book, “Uplifting Leaders! How to have difficult conversations that motivate and inspire”.

Dropping assumptions and narratives is the crux of building an inspiring and motivational communication system with our team that produces problem solving in a fun and creative way.   This will absolutely help build confidence in your own ability to lead your team well.
I LOVE to help leaders develop this type of confidence through communication principles based in curiosity. It is such a beautiful thing to witness teams work in unity and respect of one another. This comes from intentional leadership development. 

If you would like some help to develop these skills in yourself so you can confidently lead your team, contact me! You can create the team and work atmosphere you desire by developing your leadership skills! Let's get to work.

About Aleta Maxwell

Aleta Maxwell is a certified executive coach, best-selling author, leadership development content creator, as well as CEO & Founder of Uplifting Leadership.

Aleta has held multiple senior-level leadership roles over the past 25 years in the hospitality industry and non-profit companies.While partnering with leaders at all levels of management, Aleta utilizes techniques like curiosity, compassion, and courage to help clients become more aligned with their purpose and values.

Using these techniques, Aleta collaborates with her clients to uplift their specific leadership skill set and hone the tools needed to develop brand ambassadors in their employees. Find her here.