It's time to let go of leading with your "Gut."


As a leader, whether founder, CEO or president, you've relied on our gut instinct when making decisions. Sure, intuition and experience can be valuable, however you're selling yourself and your business short. Yes, being more data driven ,and adopting a leadership style that includes analysis and a structured decision-making process is important. But behaviors like deliberate, thoughtful can take you from a average leader to a great one.

In no order, look for these "gut" level leadership style pitfalls:

  1. Biased Decision-Making: A gut decision could be influenced by personal biases, emotions, and even past experiences. However, think again how this may align with your leadership team, employees or your customers.
  2. Inconsistent Results : Gut feelings, can be different from day to day . This can lead to dysfunction in your leadership team .."How's the boss feeling today?"
  3. Limited Information: Making a decision solely based on intuition simply can many times leave out the facts. In a nutshell , Anecdotal is not the right advice. Seek out direction that will lead to you and your teams success.
  4. Risky Finances: How many times have I heard "I'm not a numbers person". You don't need to be a CFO with a CPA, but basic P&L and balance sheet understanding keep you in business, improve profits and growth, and in many cases lead to a healthier liquidity event. .
  5. Vague Decision Making and Direction. Just relying on intuition to deliver direction will do more to confuse leadership team members employees, investors, and partners. What was the old adage ? "Trust but Verify."
  6. Emotional Leadership : This simply makes for a a bad culture, and an uncomfortable workplace. If you're always in a state of panic , or reminding everyone you're the smartest person in the building. Bad results can happen.

Here are areas of Leadership improvement; take a look:

  1. Collect Data: You and your team should use relevant information and data to make well-informed decisions. Develop a simple A/R-A/P Cash and Pipeline visibility approach . Not "what did you sell today?"
  2. What are our Options: Seek out multiple alternatives and consider the outcomes. Collaborate with other leaders and team members.
  3. Advise can come from the most unusual places : Consult team members , advisors, mentors and gain valuable perspective .
  4. What's Your Decision Making Process? Before moving forward did you include both quantitative and qualitative factors?
  5. Set Goals with Clarity : Get the facts, get others involved and first seek out input, without bias. Combine with factual data driven evidence and stay on track with goals and strategies.
  6. Continuous Learning : Review the outcome of your decisions and adjust your approach when needed.
  7. Losing you cool means losing valuable team members. Be rational, be thoughtful and get the facts. Lead with compassion. ( a great resource is the book "Active Listening" by Heather Younger. Heather has become a workspace culture expert and her story is an inspiration. )

While gut instincts can be valuable, they should be seen as just one component of your leadership and decision-making process. Combining intuition with data-driven analysis as well as thoughtful and deliberate behaviors can help you make more consistent and effective decisions .