Quality #9: Intuition

    Quote from Forbes Article:

    When leading a team through uncharted waters, there is no roadmap on what to do. Everything is uncertain, and the higher the risk, the higher the pressure. That is where your natural intuition has to kick in. Guiding your team through the process of your day-to-day tasks can be honed down to a science. But when something unexpected occurs, or you are thrown into a new scenario, your team will look to you for guidance. Drawing on past experience is a good reflex, as is reaching out to your mentors for support. Eventually though, the tough decisions will be up to you to decide and you will need to depend on your gut instinct for answers. Learning to trust yourself is as important as your team learning to trust you.

    Intuition is the real sixth sense. No, you won’t see dead people, but intuition in its truest sense is an amalgamation of all your experience and knowledge of a certain situation rolled into one general, often indescribable, feeling. You just KNOW.

    A key observation is made by the statement “Learning to trust yourself is as important as your team learning to trust you”. Many times, new managers are often tempted to double check their work with their superiors, and not learn to trust their own instincts or skills. A manager may call and ask their own bosses for advice on a certain decision. This makes them seem weak to their own subordinates, like they don’t know the answers. A manager may hesitate or be frozen with fear when faced with a crisis or demanding client, making them seem incompetent to those around them. Or, a manager may do tasks sloppy and expect someone to double check their work. This is where the learning to trust yourself actually begins.

    In order to learn to trust yourself, you have to know that you do good work. That you know what you’re doing, or what you’re talking about. That you are the expert in the room. That nobody else will be there to back you up. It’s all on you.

    I learned this lesson many many years ago, before I was with Accel. Back when I was a waiter for a catering company. I was just learning to skirt tables. Nothing fancy, just your basic plastic velcro clip and skirt. Of course, there was a method to it, in spacing the clips properly so that the skirt didn’t sag along the edge, or pulling the skirts tight so they didn’t look uneven, etc. And while I knew the proper way to skirt, I still didn’t do it up to standard. Until a couple of veteran waitstaff noticed me and took me aside, saying “You know why you don’t do a good job? Because you assume someone will check your work. Pretend that nobody will fix your mistakes, and that once you finish THAT will be the final product.” And you know what? Just that mental trick helped me to realize that I had to treat every job that I did like nobody was going to come behind and clean up after me. And from that day on, I began to learn how to trust myself.

    And now, when things go askew, and chaos begins take hold, I can rely on my intuition, developed over years of practice and experience, and founded upon the concept that I can’t rely on others to back me up.