(A Note from the Editor: The internal landscape of the workplace continues to shift and change, as teams are doing more with less people which also threatens work/life balance and/or burnout, new leaders being placed in leadership positions early without the necessary training and mentorship to succeed, and organizations are working to retain their people talent during the “Great Resignation”.
This four-blog series, “Honorable Leadership in a Season of Volatility”, specifically focuses on helping leaders successfully navigate through these challenging times where additional, external pressures in financial, political, and business sectors are also affecting internal team and organizational effectiveness.)
Several years ago, I experienced several touchpoints that raised my awareness on an issue that I already believed in.
Firstly, my strategic partner and good friend Hugh Massie, Founder and CEO of DNA Behavior® International, mentioned that he was learning to trust his gut instincts more. That caught my attention since he is a CPA by training and a very results oriented, rational person.
Secondly, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, and learned about this idea of the “second mind,” as he called it. Gladwell raised the visibility of the power of intuition, but I suspect that it was only for a short time for most people.
Thirdly, I met a leadership consultant at a past National Speakers Association Convention who was building her speaking platform around the idea that leaders (who have mostly been trained like engineers to trust rationality and disregard feelings) needed to learn to use their intuition more to make better decisions.
Finally, I read another impressive book, THE WAY OF THE SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed and was interested to see that author Mark Divine, a former CPA and Navy SEAL, made instinct (awareness of gut feelings) a major theme of the book. His proposition is that leaders should train like Navy SEALS to intentionally use both rational (conscious mind) and instinctive (drawing from the unconscious mind) inputs to make the best decisions.
Albert Einstein didn’t read Blink, and he certainly wasn’t a Navy SEAL, but evidently, he discovered this related theory early on, saying, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” [Tweet This]
I’m seeing a pattern from these different points on the topic of intuition, so let’s explore it a bit deeper.
So what is the gift?
Intuition is about listening to your subconscious mind (gut instincts) to pull forward information and feelings that you’ve accumulated over a lifetime. Warriors have to rely on instinct, using every possible sense from outside and every stirring from inside to stay alive. Having a good visual memory for shapes and landforms is crucial for a military pilot. Being able to store and recall patterns of logic and information is important for an entrepreneur or business person.
Emotional memory is probably the strongest memory that we have, and it’s also the one most quickly accessed. Emotional memory is the one we feel in our gut, and it helps us access the gigabytes of memory stored in our subconscious faster than any processor yet made. So, intuition is this stream of awareness that flows from our subconscious to our conscious, but it requires our tuning in to hear the signal.
In this 5-minute coaching clip, I share an intimate new story from my POW experience. Please watch and then continue with the blog below –
Can It Be Learned?
The short answer is yes, but the issue is whether you will develop your awareness and then allow intuition to move from your gut to your mind. It’s not a problem when data is tagged with emotions; it’s ready for quick retrieval and usually easy to access. At other times, it’s as simple as stopping to ask yourself, “What is my gut telling me about this—what is my intuition?”
Sometimes data needed for intuition needs help in getting to our awareness, and this situation is where we have to be more intentional about accessing it. It usually means taking time to shut down our rational thinking and reflect usually in a quiet setting away from distractions. Sounds a lot like meditation and prayer, doesn’t it? I believe it’s very similar and can be the same.
“Reflecting, waiting, and listening with our feelings for insight is a practice used by wise people throughout the history of civilization, and in our increasingly fast-paced society it’s a lost art.” [Tweet This]
If we ignore or fail to cultivate the intuitive half of our decision-making abilities, we become less than our best as leaders and merely rely on the facts at hand.
I think that I’m a very logical and rational person, but I’ve also been blessed with a gift for patterns and a good memory. In recent years I’ve learned to value what these gifts reveal to me and trust my intuition more. I do have to be careful about not jumping to conclusions with too little rational information, but overall I’m feeling more confident in my decision-making and greater commitment to execution.
What about you? What has been your experience? How often do you integrate your intuition in your decision-making? Why do you believe that some leaders ignore or don’t develop their intuitive abilities when it would produce better results and greater success? Please share your thoughts and comments.
LE [Tweet This Article]
Volatility Blog Series:
Article #1 – 4 Ways to Manage Work Volatility with Courage
Article #2 – Managing Leadership Fears and Doubts
Use This Model to Hone Your Intuition Skills
Thousands of leaders and teams are already using Courageous Accountability Model to manage team communication and decisions:
Begin using it immediately in your day-to-day decision-making and witness the results of better team performance and results. We offer three options–choose the one that best fits your objectives and goals:
Read the award-winning book, Engage with Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability, to learn and apply this model.
Purchase in the Online Store
Purchase on Amazon
Group Self-Study Program
The Engage with Honor Training Guide provides 10 self-guided lessons that you and your team can study together.
Purchase in the Online Store
Purchase the book and training together and save 30%
Group Online Study Course
Many leaders don’t feel qualified to conduct training, and it’s expensive. The Courageous Accountability Development Course, is an online platform using the latest, real-time collaborative learning technology to ensure the best learning environment possible.
Learn More and watch a sample interview
Request a complimentary course demo