I believe John Maxwell suggested that ‘intuition’ be listed as one of his 21 Leadership laws in the best seller ‘The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’. Leaders today are in desperate need of developing and exercising this skill. Unfortunately, much like speed to a football player, intuition for a leader is not a classroom product.
Intuition is a skill that must be developed through the time honored educational process termed – effort. Certain skills can be imparted by intense academic study. But, this valuable asset is one that can’t be taught. Does that mean you either have it or you don’t? Not necessarily. Like an ability to walk and talk, we all have the starter kit. (And let’s escape the thought of a mystical third eye in our definition of intuition).
What intuition is not. A hunch, a vibe, or a feeling. It is more likely looking deeply, thinking thoroughly, and having an exceptional sense of perception.
What can good intuition do for you? It can help you anticipate and avoid a great customer firing you because they feel neglected. Or, it can help you identify a cancerous morale drain in your employee base. It may even help you identify the next great employee, despite what the surface impression may suggest.
As a leadership skill, it must be cultivated. As I mentioned earlier, we all have a starter kit. It is simply what we do with it that will determine if we excel in developing a keen sense of intuition.
Why is intuition a void in the marketplace? Because we rely too much on shortcuts and quick fixes. We are in a scan and search culture to be sure. We collect data, make decisions, and move to the next dilemma. The current ‘survive until it gets better’ mentality does nothing to massage the use of intuition either. One of the keys is how we obtain our information, and who we let navigate us with it. Good leaders know how to stay away from making blunders that are birthed in reckless and irresponsible suggestions.
Rule number one: Know how to filter the information. If we only skim the surface we will never find the submarines….or the torpedoes.
Rule number two: Qualify the sources. What are the personal interests or objectives to be gained by those feeding you ‘the facts’? Look out for those who constantly want to throw others under the bus. Don’t rely on employees looking out for their own interest to feed you the most accurate information. And listen, really listen. Never make a quick assessment and then only seek information that will support it. The natural impulse is to quickly dismiss and throw out anything to the contrary. And that could be your biggest mistake.
Rule number three: Don’t be lazy. Often we blame time compression for our bad choices. If we swing at curve ball or let someone ‘juke us’, we must accept the responsibility and focus. Make a priority of looking more deeply than the average bear, and you will find that skill set of Leader Intuition mature into one of your best assets.