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How To Make Intuition Your Secret Weapon As a Leader

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The decisions you make as a manager have far-reaching implications. You’re in a position to shape company culture, empower individuals, define success and set goals that can determine the direction your organization takes.

Therefore, how you make decisions matters. And intuition should be a tool in your toolkit as you strive to make decisions that set you, your direct reports and your company up for success. From who to hire and who to promote to which projects to launch and when to take risks, your intuition can guide you in ways that facts and figures can’t.

When you listen to and trust your intuition, you open up new possibilities for making sound decisions. It’s like unlocking the door to a new room you didn’t know was there before. If you’ve ever gone against your intuition — hiring someone even though the interview gave you an uneasy feeling, for instance, or placing your trust in someone who struck you as untrustworthy — you know that interior, hard-to-articulate, “gut” feelings really can hold the key to smart decision-making.

Here are a few simple ways you can use your intuition to improve your managerial decision-making:

1. Trust your gut

Next time you face a difficult decision, pause and ask yourself, “how do I feel about this?” If you have a good feeling (or a bad one), trust it and decide accordingly. Remember, you can adjust, adapt and revise later.

2. Schedule one-on-ones with your direct reports

Intuition is stronger with insight. When you get to know your direct reports as people, you’ll deepen your understanding of who they are, how they work and what makes them tick. When it comes time to make important personnel decisions or assign responsibilities, you’ll have valuable human insights that can inform your approach.

3. Read a book by a leader you admire

Preparation primes your intuition, and reading is a great way to build your intuition muscle. Pick a book by someone whose decisions you admire, to get yourself in a mindset of innovation. Research shows that when you expose yourself to relevant information over time, you prepare yourself to make better in-the-moment decisions.

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