Leadership Law #8 – The Law of Intuition

Continuing my series of posts on the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell.

Because of their intuition, Leaders evaluate everything with a Leadership bias

There are three levels of intuition:

  1. Naturally understand – this is the highest level of intuition, where the leader understands his or her team. Retired US Army General Colin Powell always aimed to make a leadership decision having gathered only 40 – 60% of the information and then using his experience – his gut instinct or intuition – to make the decision.
  2. Nurtured – some people can be nurtured to improve their levels of intuition. Most people fall into this category.
  3. Never understand – little skill and no interest in developing the skills necessary to be a leader

Intuition comes from two things: the combination of natural ability (especially in the areas of a person’s strengths) and learned skills. It is true that most women have much greater natural skills in intuition than most men. I can honestly say that, when I was married in 1992, I was a level 3. Over the last 20 years, I have developed and learned skills and am definitely operating at level 2.

Natural ability and learned skills create an informed intuition that makes leadership issues jump out at leaders.

There are four layers of intuition.

  1. Situation and resources – good leaders read the situation and think of how to maximize the opportunity. They focus on leveraging resources to achieve their goals.
  2. People – do you have a good sense of what is going on? Can you sense people’s attitudes and detect the chemistry of your team?
  3. Trends – leaders can step back from the here and now and look into the future and discern where the team or the organization is going. Their gut feel or intuition tells them that something is happening and that they must do something differently. True leaders create the map.
  4. In tune with themselves – good leaders read themselves and develop a strong sense of self-awareness of their own skills and blindspots.

A great example of an intuitive leader is the late Steve Jobs. When he rejoined Apple, he had a gut feel, an intuitive sense, of the massive changes that needed to be made to save the company. His intuition about digital music proved to be absolutely correct.


About Andrew Stewart

Andrew Stewart exists to serve by igniting potential. Husband. Dad. Leader. Cyclist. Friend.
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