That Gut Feeling


According to the experts at Myers-Briggs (developers of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) about 65% the population uses a "sensory" approach to receive or take in information while the remaining 35% use a "intuitive" approach (titled Sensor or Intuitive in the MBTI). In other words some people take in information using their five senses — what they see, hear, touch, taste or smell (Sensor) while others take in information through a sixth sense, focusing not on what is, but rather what could be (Intuitive).

The good news is that each of us has the ability to use both Sensing and Intuition, and all of us use both every day. But we have a natural, inborn preference for one over the other. By and large, Sensors see the trees while Intuitives see the forest. Sensors usually pay more attention to what they are experiencing at the moment. Intuitives pay attention to connections, underlying meanings and implications.

This brief introduction brings me to some leadership thoughts. Intuition is a "see" word. It’s Latin root comes from "to look at". Sensing is about experience. Intuition lets leaders picture and imagine, while Sensing brings experience and data into the process.

The longer we spend in an industry, a profession or a position the more experience we gain. We have a great understanding of what we know (perhaps to the point of Institutional Memory that can damage our ability to think out of the box). Many times the Sensor (remember 65% of us are Sensors) uses his or her gained experience to help them solve problems. It’s intuition, however, that rounds out the Sensor leader and helps the leader bring together knowledge and experience to see new insights. If you feel you are an Intuitive, you can reverse this logic and gain the same insight. Essentially, great leaders need to call upon both preferences and need to be aware when one is overshadowing the other. People who are Sensors need to make sure they are using Intuition and Intuitives need to make sure they bring some data or experience to the situation.

The goal is to make well-informed decisions. One way to do that is to make sure you are making "well-rounded" decisions by gathering information from both experience and insight.

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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