Aleta Maxwell

Speak Your Intuition

Ever walk away from a conversation with more questions and confusion than when you entered?

If you have you're not alone by a long shot. Unfortunately, this is a sign of a conversation not done well. 

In our journey to becoming confident leaders, we need to hone the skill of being aware of when we should keep assumptions to ourselves verses when to speak them aloud and ask questions to gain clarity.  

As stated in my book, ‘Uplifting Leaders: How to have Difficult Conversations that Motivate and Inspire’, I talk about the importance of being aware of our assumptions vs. what is fact when entering any conversation (especially difficult ones). This is a key first step to entering a discussion with curiosity and intention rather than becoming reactive and assumption based.  

And while I always ask myself what my assumptions are vs. what I know for sure when entering a conversation, once in it…I speak my intuition as it plays out.  

Our intuition is powerful and often a great starting point for deeper insight. However, many times we ignore our gut feelings. We might dismiss them as we are trying to not assume anything. But this is not what I would advise.  

When these gut feelings arise, we can be cognizant that they are assumptions and by doing so, we can speak to them with curiosity as the backdrop instead of assurance in our position.  

When we learn how to speak our intuition and ask questions out of curiosity, it allows the other party to either correct your thoughts or speak directly to those fears/concerns.  

When you ignore your intuition and don’t speak your feelings, it allows them to fester, and you will miss out on great connection/learning opportunities all while possibly building upon more unanswered assumptions in your head.   

Some ways to pose curious questions based on gut feelings or assumptions that have arisen during conversations might sound like:

“I feel like it could possibly be an issue with _________ . Could that be it?”  

“Given what you are saying, it sounds like maybe __________. Could that possibly be it?”  

“My entire goal is to help you be successful, and I feel like you are getting defensive. Is there a reason you are feeling defensive?”  

“I’m wondering if you are feeling/thinking __________ about __________. Is this true?”  

There’s a thousand questions or thoughts that might pop up while having conversations.
Remember to practice these steps as they arise during conversations:      

  • Acknowledge that they have arisen (This might be a nagging feeling, or question in the back of your mind).        

  • Bring it to the forefront of your mind.       

  • Know that it is an assumption and formulate a question out of curiosity.      

  • Pose the question to the other person. Vocalizing that it is something you are assuming or feeling and would like some clarity is sometimes helpful.     

  • Repeat and follow-up if need be, with additional questions. Actively listen and lean into their responses with curiosity. Acknowledge when your assumptions are wrong and if you feel they are offended by them.  

By learning how to give space to your own intuition, knowing it could be wrong, you will build trust with your colleagues and increase efficiency by digging into and sorting out any misunderstandings and/or concerns before they have a chance to grow.  

As you put into practice these steps and become more aware of when something feels off and speak to your gut instincts, you will gain confidence as a leader who actively engages and listens to your team!              
Aleta Maxwell

I've spent years studying and developing communication skills specifically for leadership and the workplace. Conflict prevention and resolution is fundamental in leadership development and I coach leaders to develop key skills and tools to help their team excel.

If you'd like to develop these skills, there's several ways I can help!

> Read my book "Uplifting Leaders! How to have difficult conversations that motivate and inspire". This is a great first step as this book is packed with real life examples from my years of experience along with key tips and tricks to navigating difficult conversations in the workplace.

> Schedule some one-on-one coaching with me to develop a specific plan for you to reach your maximum potential.

> Bring me into your team to assist with team communication strategies. This looks like group coaching with individual coaching as needed. 

> Sign up for one of my online development courses. These courses are designed for employees and leaders to develop key skills at their own pace.