Some leaders within your organization have great pattern recognition, wisdom, trend anticipation, personnel insight and confidence – while others do not. Those who display these attributes have the kind of intuition which you should rely on when it comes to successful decision making within your organization.
It has been described as having a hunch or gut-feeling when making choices. A few have even gone so far as to equate it with pseudo-science and mystic qualities. Some are naturally gifted, while others have learned to develop it over time.
But one thing is certain when it comes to successful leadership: There is no doubting the importance of intuition. "Often you have to rely on intuition," Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, once said. Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein is even more emphatic: "The only real valuable thing is intuition."
The intuition of a leader comes into play when there is insufficient data and time, conflicting information, or a multitude of viable options when a big decision must be made. For an organization to be successful, not only must you have some sense of intuition, but you need it in those who surround you as well.
Having a crystal ball to reveal who the intuitive leaders and team members are within your corporate structure is not necessary. Instead, you can recognize them by surveying the things they rely on and the attributes they exhibit versus the typical characteristics which others often display.
Author Douglas Adams writes that, "Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." Having a wealth of experience to draw from is a key factor in being an intuitive leader.
"Green" employees may come up with or luck into good decisions every now and then, but those individuals whose have experienced both successes and failures yet have made the most of both are an asset to your organization.
"Dig up all the information you can, then go with your instincts. We all have a certain intuition, and the older we get, the more we trust it… I use my intellect to inform my instinct. Then I use my instinct to test all this data," Colin Powell, former U.S. Army General and Secretary of State, explains in his book My American Journey.
You should not necessarily associate having intuition with being smart, but instead rely on those who exhibit wisdom in decision making. Do you trust the gut-reaction of the genius in your organization, or the individual whose choices have typically been informed ones, in which research and careful consideration was made? Being wise, rather than purely intelligent, helps guide intuition.
Those who effectively display intuition routinely reach decisions quickly based on their assessment of a given situation. Once their instinct points in a particular direction, they confidently and immediately shift into second gear in order to move things forward.
Those who do not trust their intuition will have a tendency to over-analyze data, second-guess choices, change direction - and cause delay, slowing down progress.
Being in tune with those around you enables you to adequately understand personality types, read body language, anticipate how others react in certain situations, and determine how to best leverage strengths and weaknesses. An employee who is well connected with co-workers will likely be intuitive in making personnel decisions and managing projects with multiple team members.
They will also know their own limits and realize when it is best to rely on the talents, abilities and even intuition of others. Those who have a tendency to isolate themselves will be out of touch with not only their intuition and their co-workers, but with your organizational goals as well.
"The responsibility of a leader is to define reality," Max DePree asserts in Leadership is an Art. Being cognizant your organization’s ever-changing details will pay big dividends in fine-tuning intuition. Many employees narrow their focus on the minutia of their job descriptions, causing them to disregard the world around them.
The intuitive individual successfully fulfills his or her role, yet also has the ability to step back and survey the entire landscape of your organization. He or she knows what financial assets, technology, personnel, and other resources are available and not only recognizes but expects changing industry trends. This type of intuitive employee will have a knack for making the right choices in future company decisions.
Meetings are rarely looked upon favorably by employees and managers alike, as most consider them to be an unproductive and useless part of their week. But when managed well, a meeting can become one of the most reliable and efficient tools you have to lead your team to achieve its goals.
A good leader concentrates on individual strengths and utilizing them to the fullest extent possible. But great leaders also focus on the weaknesses and find ways to support those shortcomings toward even more success.
Promotions typically go to those who have shown great skills and achievements in their previous roles. However, you must ask certain questions to ensure you are promoting a respected leader.