Should I Trust My Instincts?

5 Reasons Leaders Have Trouble Trusting Their Instincts

  1. Unfavourable Outcomes

This seems quite obvious, but you cannot succeed as a leader if you are always ignoring or down-playing what your instincts are leading you towards. Unexpected outcomes and undesirable results can, and do, happen even with the most logical and fact-based, well-thought-out and researched plans.

Your instincts are like second opinions; whether this makes you more optimistic or pessimistic depends on the particular situation and what experience has taught you.

  1. Fear the Uncertainty

You have to learn to master or at least ignore issues of fear or you will never be courageous enough to confront adverse circumstances. When fear becomes the norm your leadership has suffered to the point where you are actually an ineffective leader. You cannot expect management to be a sea of calm water and you should revisit your personal values as a refresher point.

Sharpen your instincts into a strength and a source of wisdom that is continually nourished with the right knowledge, experience, relationships, and lessons learned from failure – and allow them to open your eyes to opportunities previously unseen.

  1. Cannot Deliver

Are you accountable enough for your actions? Do you feel compelled to prove others wrong when they will not buy into the non-traditional path your instincts are telling you to take? We all from time to time ignore our instincts because selling this vision to sceptical colleagues/superiors is a big hurdle to overcome.

As a leader, pushing yourself is a requirement to grow and develop. You must gather the strength and fortitude to take calculated risks when your instincts tell you it is time to take action in your efforts to anticipate the unexpected. How will you ever know what you are capable of (or not) unless you take on the added responsibility that forces you to step-up to the proverbial plate?

  1. What the Market tells you

Figures and performance dashboards will give you measures of performance which will inevitably reduce the amount of risk that you feel able to deal with even if your instincts are telling you something very different.  Some strategic decisions require creativity and a brave heart.

When the marketplace or the workplace places boundaries on your entrepreneurial spirit, it makes it difficult to create impact or to explore the endless possibilities that your competitors may be hesitant to do – but that your instincts are telling you to do.

  1. Clouded Judgment

Because there are times that you may have an emotional stake in a particular situation, trusting your instincts too much may eventually get you in trouble. When you are too close to a particular part of the business or set of events it is only natural for your judgment to be impaired and for you to stop trusting your instincts. In many respects, your instincts lose power when you become too emotionally invested.

Sometimes you just have to go with what your instincts are telling you – what is universally true however is that the broader your experiences the better and more finely tuned your instincts will be. A Junior Trader dealing in large share transactions has limited instinct compared to a seasoned Senior Trader with thirty years experience; who would you trust with managing your nest egg?

Good Luck!