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#WFH: Do You Have Intentional Intuition?

Accessing your intuition and trusting it comes easier to some people than it does to others. In or-der to access intuition, it is necessary to reflect and realize that you are using it intentionally. When one consciously manages the impact of those personal feelings by recognizing, understanding and ques-tioning one’s own biases and beliefs, it is possible to begin to govern one’s own intuition. Making the un-conscious conscious is done through reflective en-gagement in order to recognize feelings, emotions and thoughts and to develop a deeper insight into thought processing. Sometimes this involves check-ing and regulating emotions that have become au-tomatic and entrenched. By examining multiple per-spectives, some of which we may not agree with, we can increase our intrapersonal development skills and enhance our thought processing. Relying on our own intuition is all about developing intrapersonal introspection. Self-examination that looks into our feelings, attitudes, history and internal purposes is very important in governing and being able to rely upon our own intuitive processes (Schmidt, 2014).

Self-confidence and exaggerated self-belief can get in the way of reliable intuition. Some of us, for a wide variety of reasons, grow up with a contempt for advice and criticism by others. When it is unexam-ined, unchecked and unbridled, intuition can lead to narcissistic behaviors in leaders. “Intuitions are affectively charged judgements that arise through rapid, non-conscious and holistic associations” (Dane & Pratt, 2007) that combine thinking and feel-ings. Intuition requires a leap into the unknown. It is not part of a logical thought process and reason-ing that ends in an appropriate conclusion. There-fore, intuition can be both useful and problematic depending on the use and the reliability. Your “little voice, gut feeling, hunch or vibe” sends a message to you to trust, select or act upon a particular situa-tion or whether to distrust, reject or avoid it. But in order to rely on this “gut feeling” you need to trust that it is reliable. The more complex the environment, the higher the stakes with intuition. Intuition may continue to influence rational thinking and one must be aware that rational thinking can become a justification for intuitive reasoning. Instead of the rational thought being a check and balance on in-tuition, it can have very negative consequences. By mulling over or ruminating on internal thoughts that we assume to be true but are really grounded in bias, potential pitfalls and unintended consequences can emerge. Using a friend or trusted colleague as a sounding broad and getting a second or third opinion can help.

When your decision affects the lives of others, whether F2F or virtually, it is important to take the time to make sure that your intuition is reliable and on target. Leaders in the virtual workplace also need feedback. This is just another good reason to regularly do 360-degree evaluations. Sometimes when leadership is hierarchical and removed and receives little feedback intuition runs amuck. These leaders do not get a complete picture of the consequences of their actions and are more likely to use intuition inaccurately and indiscriminately. Often associated with narcissism or NPD, Narcissistic Personality Dis-order, this is often associated with leaders like Steve Jobs. Jobs had a very strong reliance on his own “gut feelings” rather than getting help or receiving feed-back. He said, “you always have to keep pushing to innovate.” This may have come from an experience he had with Zen Buddhism in the 1970s.

“He attributed his ability to focus and his love of simplicity to his Zen training. It honed his appreciation for intuition, showed him how to filter out anything that was distracting or unnecessary and nurtured in him an aesthetic based minimalism” (Isaacsson, 2011).

Certainly, the three checks and balances usually associated with keeping intuition in balance, rational analysis, contemplation and external dialogue, were often missing with Jobs. Gates, on the other hand, appears to have uncoupled intuition to the point that he can reflect on it. Gates clearly has a high opinion of and trusts his intuition but tries to have a realistic view of what has worked and what has not over time.

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