Instincts and Intuition
When you know it in your “knower”.
Some years ago I was chatting with Ernie, the leader of a local organisation, as people were gathering for an event, and as a couple passed us by he enquired about them and their relationship. He said to me about them “I just get the vibe that something isn’t quite right”.
A few weeks later as I was entering a local restaurant with my wife and family to celebrate our wedding anniversary, I spotted this same couple sitting having a nice quiet drink together, so I paused and wandered over to have a chat on the way to our table. After my response to the inevitable “what are you all here for” question, I asked how they were and what they were doing, and I their reply was “we’re just discussing the plans for our divorce”.
Well, I don’t remember what I said in response, but I do remember thinking that what Ernie had said about them was spot on. His leadership instincts had sized up their situation quite intuitively.
On another occasion I was called into a local organisation as the Chair of Trustees to intervene in a situation that had caused a serious rift between the two most senior staff members, I’ll call them Steve and Stephanie. As I started to talk to them about this situation it was fairly quickly evident that there was a significant difference between their versions of the issue. Although there was no real surprise there, after all that’s how disagreements often start, I was reminded of a habit that is promoted by Dr Stephen Covey in his “7 habits of highly effective people”.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
~ Dr Stephen Covey
So, with just three of us present, I asked Steve to describe Stephanie’s position in the disagreement in such a way that she would agree that’s how she felt. Then, I asked Stephanie to describe how Steve felt in such a way that he would agree that’s how he felt. Now here’s the interesting part. Steve described her position precisely in a way that she agreed with, and Stephanie was entirely unable to describe Steve’s position with any clarity or accuracy. That little exercise allowed us all to see where the actual problem lay, and as a result, move forward in finding a resolution to the dispute.
Last summer saw a fascinating situation unfold in the British Isles, where a referendum was held asking the population of the UK to vote whether to leave the EU or remain part of the 28 nation bloc, resulting in the decision to leave. One of the really fascinating outcomes though involved the actions of two of the most prominent supporters of the Leave campaign and their response to the resignation of the leader of the Conservative Party who had taken us into this referendum.
Gove and Johnson: What happened?
Everyone is trying to work out exactly what happened that led Michael Gove to break his word and launch his own campaign to become the next prime minister, leaving Boris Johnson, who he has known for decades stunned, and defeated.
~ Laura Kuenssberg
(BBC Political editor)
In terms of displays of intuition, it was a masterful display of a lack of that quality. Having repeatedly denied that he wants to be Prime Minster and pledged his support to Johnson, Gove had stated “I have repeatedly said that I do not want to be prime minister. That has always been my view.” He then drew on his powers of political intuition and betrayed his colleague and former running mate and put his name forward stating that “Boris cannot provide the leadership to build the team for the task ahead.”
One Number 10 source told me tonight, he’s guilty of a “double treachery”, first betraying his friend David Cameron by joining the Out Campaign and now carrying out this political assassination of Boris Johnson too.
~ Laura Kuenssberg
As we now know the result of the Conservative leadership election following the resignation of David Cameron was never in doubt after Theresa May was left as the only remaining candidate after all of the other candidates were either eliminated or withdrew and in the end, she landed the position unopposed. We will soon have the chance to see whether May has the Leadership Intuition necessary to retain her position into the next parliament, and her first test of support within the country is looming with the local council elections on the horizon.
Pressing home her advantage over Labour in opinion polls, she told voters to choose between the “competence” of her Conservatives or the “chaos” of the rest in the May 4 elections when voters across Britain will elect thousands of local authority councillors and six new mayors.
To improve your leadership ability there is no substitute for honing your “Leadership Intuition”, and to learn to understand and interpret your feelings. You have to learn how to listen to your “knower”; that part of you that reveals your intuition, and work on improving it by paying attention to your feelings and instincts, to learn where they are most effective and refine them where they need to be recalibrated.
Natural ability and learned skills create an informed intuition that makes leadership issues jump out at leaders.
~ John Maxwell
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.