Choose intuition over impulse

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Hard facts aren’t always available to leaders to make a decision. Often when it comes to an action that impacts the people in their organization, they need to call up other resources I themselves to land on the path to take forward.

Leaders may rely on their intuition or an impulse to make decisions when factual evidence is absent.

I believe intuitive decisions are the better way to go, because they involve thought (often swift) that is based on some evidence even if hard facts are absent.

Acting on impulse can be risky. Impulsiveness is swift and sparks action but without the benefit of thought or evidence. When you understand the difference between intuition and impulse, you may notice that one can be more effective than the other.

Intuition: Working with your intuition, you would generally be relying on your subconscious, which has a lot of information that is stored in it – similar to a useful file that you had forgotten about. This information may include relevant history, some logic, and previous patterns that are relevant to the one you are dealing with. When you think intuitively, you will generally have made the best decision you can without hard facts and can describe your reasons for such a decision.

Impulse: Unfortunately, some leaders work largely with their impulses even if they think they are using their intuition. Impulsiveness is quick, reactive, and without even the briefest period of insightful thinking. There is an abundance of luck at play as to whether a decision is sound when impulse strikes. In any event, the success of an impulsive action can be quite random, and can be accompanied by justification and blaming as the reasons for a bad decision rather than reasoning. Impulsive decisions are driven by emotions and assumptions.

Some leaders may mistake impulse for intuition; both can be driven by “gut feel” without use of facts. If you are impulsive in the way described above, there is hope. You can develop your intuition with a lot of hard work on increased self-awareness and emotional regulation. You can read more about developing your intuition here.

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.