The Intuitive Manager


Intuition resized 600I don’t know about you, but whenever I have a tough decision to make and no reasoning tools at my disposal, I tend to do one of two things: 1) eeny, meeny, miny, mo; or 2) go with my gut (otherwise known as intuition).

While these two methods have served me well in the past when choosing a chocolate bar over skittles or picking a light blue over a slightly lighter blue shirt to buy, I can’t imagine using a nursery rhyme when it comes to something as important as hiring. And yet, some managers use such arbitrary techniques to find new talent and promote internally.

“Unsurprisingly, most people overestimate their intuitive powers, much like they overestimate their sense of humour, creativity, and sex appeal,” writes Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic in a recent Forbes article. Just because someone flashes a smile during an interview and says all the right things, doesn’t mean they’ll be a good fit for the job. In other words, it’s not enough to rely purely on intuition.

Fortunately, intuition during the selection process can be a skill when it is informed by good data, such as validated personality assessment results. “In line,” continues Chamorro-Premuzic, “purely intuitive managers may face extinction only if they ignore the valuable information provided by data. At the same time, those managers who are capable of data-driven intuition will remain in demand, and increasingly so.”

In conclusion, Chamorro-Premuzic asserts that “modern management calls for leaders who are logical, empirical, and intuitive. They must have both IQ and EQ and question their own judgment by remaining humble and maintaining their ingenuity.” So, go with your gut! But make sure it’s well informed.