Is Trusting Your Gut a Leadership Competency?

April Sabral

/ Leadership

How many times have I heard this phrase?
“Trust your gut. ”
I have heard it my entire retail career, especially when it comes to selecting talent, is your gut something you should trust? And if so, how do you learn to trust it?

In particular, when it comes to selecting talent if we were to trust our gut, then why do we need lists of questions and techniques to use during the interview process? I find this fascinating as well as challenging.
As a highly optimistic person, I assume positive intent and find the good in every situation. I always feel good about who I am meeting; This may sound unrealistic, but for me, it is my reality. I am a leader that gives trust Rather than makes you earn it.
And because of this, It can sometimes hinder my decision-making process.

I am an avid learner and highly self aware of this, Knowing my strengths and opportunities are great leadership qualities in my book.
Over the years as I developed stronger leadership skills, I was able to add members to my team that do not think the same way as I do or see the same things in others that I do. I believe in diversity of thought and how powerful this can be within a team.
I am also a logical thinker so I put logic to situations to highlight what I need to see.
So how have I learned to trust my gut?
I still struggle with it, because my brain wants me to default to positive.
However, now that I am fully aware of this, I pay attention to this allot closer.
And I have developed strategies that can assist me when I am facing an important decision.
I do think my positive mind will always override my gut, but now I have ways of managing it better.

So is trusting your gut a leadership quality? I would argue that it is a human quality that when activated can aid and support you with your decisions; however, it should not be confused with judging someone based on your personal preferences. When people make decisions on personal preferences then that’s not always the best either.

The art of trusting your gut and combining it with your leadership skills can be very powerful.

So how do you learn to trust your gut? Have you ever been driving and you hear your self saying take the left but you take the right and end up in the wrong place?
Pay attention to what you are ignoring…
This sounds very counter-intuitive, and it is. But completely necessary.

Here are a few suggestions.

Pay attention to a situation personal or professional, where you feel you are talking yourself out of something or seeking too much advice from others because you hear your gut, but you don’t trust it. When this happens, it is better to write down a pro’s and con’s list as part of your decision-making process. Weigh up the pros and cons and risk of each decision.

Write down your first initial thoughts on any given situation – there is something about writing out your observations and thoughts that bring clarity.

Ask others for advice; however, here’s what I do, I write down the different pieces of information I have been given, and then I ask myself, which one feels right to me.

Taking the lead is scary for some leaders, making tough decisions takes time and experience.

Leadership is many things, it is made up of experiences, skill level, knowledge and intuition. (trusting you gut). Remember this when faced with decisions.

Have confidence and go for it!

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