Throughout our study of leadership, we’ve encountered many lists that describe a successful leader as charismatic, courageous, a problem-solver, and, ultimately, teachable. While it’s hard to create a list that may be inclusive of all the possible characteristics of a successful leader, there is one trait that often gets overlooked but can be of value in extreme circumstances.
Leaders who find themselves in unprecedented circumstances rely upon intuition.
Leaders have to make decisions. It is unavoidable if you want to have any chance of being successful in leadership. Decisions require action and thought. How does a leader best think through decisions that need to be addressed?
Most leaders have been taught problem-solving through the study of psychology, physiology, and sociology. Intuitiveness is more than these studies. In the vernacular, intuition is called a “gut feeling.” It’s that sensation that you can’t quite put a finger on. Usually, this reaction is unconscious and not based on reason. It’s like people saying they see the light at the end of the tunnel on a particularly challenging project or when the “lightbulb comes on” when something finally makes sense. These sensations give us direction or redirection in decision-making.
Intuition exists as a gray area in a world of black and white, but there is good news. You can train yourself to listen to those gut feelings and improve your intuition skills. Here are our four best tips to do that:
- Know yourself, your values, and your mores. The more you understand yourself and what matters to you, the easier it will be to listen to your intuition. Your intuition won’t be competing with conflicting situations as often.
- Deeply understand your followers and their goals. When you learn all there is to know about your people, you become familiar with what to look for when serving them (and serving them well).
- Fully know your vision and message of your business or organization. If you don’t have a clear vision for your business, your subconscious brain doesn’t know what to prioritize as opportunities and threats appear in your work.
- Engage in conversations with your followers, read books on relationships, and people watch. Our intuition is just like a muscle. The more we practice it, the more it will come to our aid when we need it.