Leadership and Decision Making: The role of intuition.

I came across a very good article on decision making which reminded me of the one time that allowed me to understand how to “listen” to your intuition.  Intuition is a very powerful tool,  but for many reasons we do not learn to really truly listen to our intuition.  Furthermore,  we actually suppress our intuitive instinct through the busy lives we lead, emotions and actually being taught throughout our careers that “going with our gut” is a bad thing (which it is if void of any other analysis and the application of decision making skills). However,  I suggest that there is a difference between “going with your gut” and intuition.

What I learned (the hard way) is that when you have completed all your analysis,  made all the small decisions toward the comprehensive one that you are about to make,  if there is a little “nagging” (or sinking) feeling in your stomach….that is your intuition telling you that you are about ready to make the wrong decision. Consider that “nagging” feeling versus the “butterflies” in your stomach feeling. Those (butterflies) in my experience are simply slight nervousness but generally in a more positive light versus a negative one.  Three very interesting articles below discuss this in greater detail.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/09/AR2010050902953.html

http://psychologyofeating.com/brain-belly/

http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/intuition-healthcare/how-does-intuition-speak-me

Both feelings (butterflies and that sinking feeling in your stomach) are intuition in my opinion. However, I propose that if we seek to understand these differences and actually learn to listen to our intuition, we perhaps could avoid decisions that are costly to our careers and personal lives.  I also suggest that this is a critically important skill to learn if you want to be a truly great leader. There are many things that define a great leader and making remarkably good decisions fast is one that not all leaders pay attention to enough.  It is a skill that must be developed. Consider it a muscle that continually needs to be exercised as listening to our intuition takes continual practice. The article below speaks to leadership, great decision making and the role of intuition.

http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/2010/10/great-leaders-are-great-decision-makers/

So how did my decision turn out?  It was the wrong decision without question and I remember with remarkable clarity exactly the moment I felt that “sinking” feeling in my stomach. The mistake I made is confusing that “sinking” feeling with “butterflies”. I thought that I was just a little nervous about making this very important life changing decision.

The good news is that the next time I have that “feeling” even after rather exhaustive research and analysis, I am running in the opposite direction!  That said, another very important lesson that I learned (which will be a topic in and of itself in another post) is that every learning experience is a gift, even though you do not feel like you are receiving one in the midst of living through a “wrong decision”!

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