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Leadership and Intuition

By February 22, 2011February 14th, 2019Articles, leadership, Leadership

Can I ask you a question? Thank you! Should a leader use their intuition or not to make decisions? Do you believe intuition is a critical component to leadership? Let’s define intuition.

The term intuition is used to describe thoughts and preferences that come to mind quickly and without much reflection. The word 'intuition' comes from the Latin word 'intueri', which is often roughly translated as meaning 'to look inside'’ or 'to contemplate’ (source Wikipedia). It’s typically a right brain function.

You may have experienced ‘intuition’ telling you that you have made a bad decision, as it just doesn’t feel right in your gut.

Integrity, honesty, respect and courage all form part of a good leaders values as an example. These values are beliefs and guide decisions and actions, how we live our life and operate as a leader. To ‘check in’ with these values is an internal and instinctive process. Therefore, I argue that intuition plays a big role in effective leadership.

Take for example a big leadership lesson learnt by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. One of her biggest lessons in her early leadership is to use her intuition more. She has been heavily criticised for her communication style during the natural disasters in Queensland earlier this year. People saw her as staged, rehearsed and paused. How she was communicating didn’t come across as natural for her and as a consequence to that, she did not connect with her people or effectively demonstrate empathy at a time when it was crucial. I have noticed of late, she has made some changes and seems more comfortable in her own skin. An intuition lesson at play here.

In business, we can use our left-brain a little too much, the critical thinking side of our brain. Great leaders need to train both sides and when a hard decision needs to be made, it can be a little easier when you instinctively know it’s the right decision, even if it is an unpopular one. Your integrity is intact.

"Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next."    – Jonas Salk