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How to Learn to Listen to Your Gut Feeling as a Leader


The gut feeling is rarely considered in modern decision-making processes. Many leaders prefer following standard logical processes than relying on the gut feeling.

As leaders, we must learn to trust our guts.

We are in a world of data, numbers, and figures. Businesses are relying on algorithms, analytics, and artificial intelligence in making certain business decisions.

Everyone is interested in the numbers but can we blame everyone?

The fact is that numbers do not lie – whether you are interested in generating revenue or improving the productivity of your employees.

Numbers are necessary but sticking to numbers alone as a business or communications leader stifles creativity and innovation.

The gut feeling or instinct, is the beginning point of all innovation.

Entrepreneurs, scientists, and inventors who have created new paths did so without enough data backing their vision at the time.

It is the gut feeling that drove Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey to build Facebook and Twitter, based on the information available to them at the time.

What if they decided not to act on their gut feeling because of a dearth of data to back their gut?

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world very unexpectedly. It instantly altered the future of startups, big and small companies alike.

A lot of business leaders, unaware of what was to come, have had to creatively think of ways to move their businesses forward. Most of these decisions made were not based on certainty but on gut feel.

Just as numbers are important, it is important to recognize that, instinct is as crucial in making urgent and important business decisions.

The challenge this presents is leaders’ ability to know when and how to use their instincts.

“You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs

Learning to Listen to Your Gut Feeling

Build self-trust

Usually, when it comes to gut feeling, people view them as default, hence needing no nurturing. Truth is, building trust is a skill that needs continuous learning, cultivation, and practice; particularly self-trust.

Instinctive leaders are those who have a great blend of experience, an understanding of who they are and their business.

Society shapes us into trusting the people we surround ourselves with rather than in ourselves and our capabilities. If you’ve been socialized in such a society, trusting your gut will be a challenging thing but there’s nothing impossible.

Knowing how to trust your gut is not exactly science. Gradually as you learn to trust yourself and gain leadership experience, you would begin to trust your inner voice.

You can trust your gut feeling to guide you to better places than numbers can take you.

Meditation can help you develop self-confidence and self-trust.

A good meditation app to guide you on the journey of listening more to yourself is the Headspace App, which I strongly recommend.

Answer the Why

You need to understand that your gut feeling must not push you to make quick, impulsive, and emotional decisions.

When you get the gut feeling to take a step or an action, probe it for the why before you take action, whether it’s your gut feeling or that of an employee.

Entrepreneurs, visionaries, and many of the top business leaders we know of today apply their guts in their decision-making processes.

However, they do so with an understanding of the “why,” behind their novel ideas before they action any project.

If you are the manager or head of a start-up company with novel products, defining the company’s philosophies and product categories will mostly be instinctual.

You may seek out data but really, there wouldn’t be enough information on something novel. In that instance, probe your gut feelings and answer the why question.

Once you do, you just might be on your way to creating something spectacular and valuable to the world.

Make your business decision and just go for it!

Source: www.tenor.com

A rule in taking gut decisions is, once you decide, don’t justify, just go for it.

Once you’ve understood the problem you’re facing, trying to explain your gut feeling to people and justifying to them why you’ve arrived at that decision does not work.

Don’t try to make logical sense of your gut feel because once you do, you will only make the worse decisions thereafter. Be bold and take the action your gut feels right about.

Just learn to listen to that voice within you that doesn’t use words!!!


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