The 6th Sense for Great Leadership
Leadership can be equated to juggling three fragile balls: Vision, People and Tasks. With all the skills and abilities required to successfully manage these various dimensions, a leader can benefit greatly from a little magic too.
Don’t worry, we not going to delve into the mystic arts as a module of leadership. We are, however, going to look at the advantages of a leader’s Intuition. Even before we discuss Intuition too deeply, let us demystify the word.
Intuition in leadership helps us define those hard to measure elements around leading people, teams or tasks that, even though they are hard to measure, are important to the success of the outcome.
These “hard to quantify” elements include: Effectiveness and Value of the Vision, Morale of the team, Attitudes and commitment of team members, True value of a skill / attitude / Knowledge set without testing, Timing of launching or ending a project, Perceiving the effect or value of a product/service/approach will have before launch.
Even though these are not all the “intuitive elements”, a leaders sense of timing and value of these is so important, and so hard to measure. Often intuition is more about experience – past experiences that give one insight to potential outcomes. These past experiences could be the leader’s personal efforts, or someone’s experience the leader chooses to learn from. As a result – intuition falls into the “magic of leadership” file.
So, let’s look at various areas that a leader’s sensitivity to timing and value will have impact:
1. Themselves: Self awareness is often overlooked, causing leaders to make impulsive decisions. Making permanent choices while experiencing temporary emotions is dangerous and potentially destructive to your team. Get your intuition in tune with yourself. Know who you are, know what you are experiencing, know when it’s a good time to make a decision and know when to steer clear of others. Know your highs and lows, and their timing. This will save you a lot of “apology” time and effort trying to repair damage.
Self Awareness is important, regardless. Keep discovering yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your values and your beliefs. Discovering these elements will give you insight to the most important factor to personal success – Mind Mutter. It matters! Know yours; make friends with your inner voice. It will be of endless benefit to you.
2. Resources: Keep your finger on the pulse of what assets and resources are where. Knowing what resources you have, and how to best utilise them is a key matter of timing and intuition. We are not suggesting that you count peas, that is time consuming - but be sure of what is available.
Resources need to be applied at the right time too. There is no easy way to define when the right moment will arise. Experience and intuition is key. Talk to other leaders. Ask about their experiences. Learn to recognise the correct moments from their input. Einstein says – A true genius doesn’t learn from his own mistakes, he learns from the mistakes of others.
3. People: Assessing people, their strengths, weaknesses, moods and motivation is a constant cycle of success and failure for any leader. If I was to put my money on the single greatest challenge for people, I would bet on the People Horse.
Never cease to learn about people, and what makes them tick. Developing intuition concerning people is no easy task, and I suggest focusing on the following areas to speed up your learning curve:
- Values and Beliefs: Group as one heading these are two different aspects of people that will give you two important keys to understanding people and their makeup.
- Sensory Perception Patterns: We all use our five physical senses – see, hear, feel, taste and smell – to absorb and process information. Each of us has a preference, which will dictate likes, dislikes, and prescribe certain behaviours. You will do well to uncover these preferences.
- Motivational Direction: Towards and away from are the two direction described by this method of understanding what makes people tick. Towards people are motivated by the carrot, and away from people are motivated by the stick.
- Comparison Preference: Match or mismatch. People group and compare everything in their lives. Get the process wrong and you could lose the commitment of a follower.
4. Situation: Any situation is divided into five different elements – people (people involved directly and indirectly), place (or environment), Activity (or tasks, actions), Time (time on the clock but also season – birthday, Christmas, before a holiday, etc.) and resources (Objects, assets) A leader must develop intuition to understand and assess the relationship between these five elements.
5. Trends: Spotting potential trends before the bandwagon is overpopulated is possibly one of the most desirable intuition aspects any leader could hope for. Like the other elements, learning to identify trends is a matter of experience and learning. Learn from past trends, and learn to recognise the signs and respond to that insight before it makes sense to the rest of the world.
As you can see from these five elements – intuition is not an easy thing to develop. Sometimes a little magic (or more often – a little luck) is welcome! A personal belief concerning development of intuition is – Either you win, or you learn! A learning attitude is a leader’s greatest asset (even more so than magic) to developing intuition. However, having God on your side could bolster your intuitive abilities to levels legends are made of.