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#WFH: What’s Up with Intuition and Engagement?

Effectively engaging and influencing others requires a totally different skill set than traditional management routed in the industrial age. The knowledge worker and virtual workplace rely on conscious thoughts and responsible actions. They function best when people know themselves well enough to take responsibility for their own behaviors, paradigms, limitations and eccentricities. They require workers to be able to act with autonomy, set and enact priorities, be authentically productive, make responsible choices and align their connections. Authentic leadership is about behaviors that support worker and organizational intentions.

It takes effort to build relationships online. In the virtual workplace we form alliances, build relationships and align connections. Virtual workers share risks, opportunities and rewards based on trust and agreement. Cooperation and collaboration are essential if the mutually agreed upon outcomes are to be achieved. Soft skills, communication, emotional intelligence and intuition play an important role for authentic management and employee engagement. Authentic leadership is reliant on intuition and is built upon mutually agreed up on values, commitment and trust (Lloyd-Walker & Walker, 2011).

Intuition as a valuable part of leadership and management started in the 1930s with Charles Barnard. Bernard was the President of New Jersey Bell Telephone Company. He was a practitioner not an academic scholar. Intuition apparently went latent as a practice for about 40 years and then reappeared in leadership, management, psychological, learning, educational, risk, morality and a host of other forms of literature. Bernard, however, is given credit as the first management writer to openly refer to intuition as a critical component in job roles. He believed that mental process fell into two categories, logical and non-logical. He argued that leaders didn’t always have the luxury of making decisions based on ordered and leisurely rational thought but often had to rely on intuitive responses because of circumstances that required fast decision making and complex judgements.

In the late 1940s, Herbert Simon was the first academic to really examine the link between intuition and management. However, as an academic his work was not applied in practice. He felt that in a business environment human behaviors were in-tended to be rational but weren’t always. He looked at intuition through the lens of domains of specific expertise. This approach resonates with later work that has pattern recognition playing an important role in intuition theory. Characterized by familiar cues, intuition is an outcome of a reaction to and interpretation of situations. Simon did not rule out the possibility that the subconscious or unconscious might be a better decision maker than the conscious mind. Later contributors to the field of intuition and leadership point out that intuition is greater than just pattern recognition and add that it creates and combines elements to form new solutions and interpretations. Herbert Simon earned the Nobel Prize in Economics for this work in 1978.

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