Gut instinct – do you trust yours? 5 key things you need to do if you want to develop your gut instinct as a leader

Do you trust your gut instinct? As a leader in business there are times when you have to rely on your intuitive intelligence. This article looks at the business situations where you need to do that and 5 ways you can develop this skill.

What are the situations where leaders need to rely on their gut instinct?

  • During a crisis: When a rapid response is required.
  • Rapid change: When the factors you normally use to make decisions change rapidly, without warning.
  • In messy situations: When a problem or challenge is poorly constructed.
  • In ambiguous situations: When the factors you need to consider are hard to articulate and sound contradictory.

To help you build on your innate intuition, and develop trust in those ‘flashes of insight’, you can be trained in the following:

  • Be present: Like a martial arts master – centre yourself mentally and disconnect from the emotions of the situation. Don’t analyse or try to understand, just quietly observe. In a crisis, this can be done in just a matter of seconds.
  • See the whole picture: Embrace the big picture. Remember lessons from the past and look for different perspectives.
  • Clarify your intention: Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve. Zoom in on the few things that are most important. This requires deep reflection about you, where you’re headed and why.
  • Engage your values: Either consciously or unconsciously, all choices and decisions are driven by what you value most. Your purpose and values engage together to provoke a flash of insight that ‘feels right’.
  • Have a fierce resolve: Total commitment follows when there is a feeling of certainty about the things you ‘feel are right’.  A decision means nothing unless it is bought into action, and followed through without second-guessing or procrastination.

These five steps to develop your gut instinct take place at a sub-conscious level, even if you do use your conscious mind to rationalise the final results.

A word of warning, though. Even the most highly developed intuition can be misdirected if too many of the facts are wrong or missing. It’s equally important not to neglect your rational side and to be diligent when gathering facts for analysis.

Like most things in life, it’s all about getting the balance right. Your gut instinct can become your greatest weapon in business, if you learn how to use it confidently and accurately.

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