Leadership Traits – Intuition

By:org-chart-art M. A. Sacco of Stratalyne Business Solutions LLC

 If there were one trait of a great leader that is underestimated for its value, I think it would be the ability to call and act upon intuition.  My reasoning about this, stems from a financial concept, as well as, a human capital development frame of reference. So, what do I mean by this?

1.      When I majored in Business Finance as an undergraduate, I learned about forecasting techniques.  When running a business, the ability to forecast well insures a higher probability for success.  To forecast well, you must gather the best of relevant data as a basis for the forecasting model.  But, it is a fact that, you will never have all the data or the exact data for any forecast, in other words, there will be uncertainty. So, to be a great leader, you must be able to make, communicate, and execute decisions even though there will always be some uncertainty (i.e. risk).  Therefore, the leader must engage intuition intelligently to make decisions that are more likely to succeed, thereby sustaining his or her leadership value by growing the business.

2.      Additionally, I draw my opinion based upon my reading of one of the most respected books about leadership, Good to Great by Jim Collins.  In it, Collins talks about the extraordinary success driven by leaders who put together the best team of people and then assign them to (the right) positions from which they can then do their best to leverage their strengths. Just like forecasting and decision-making, finding, hiring and positioning the best, the right people, relies upon a leader’s intuition after and in addition to completing the standard due diligence of interview, vetting, and hiring.  But when sound practice is coupled with superior intuition, the overall result is a higher level of intelligent decision-making input to enhance the underlying context to feed the intuitive process.

Intuition, perhaps the secret sauce of success.


Good to Great, Collins James, HarperBusiness, 2001 (Audie Award 2006)

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