There are days that my inbox seems to be overrun with emails from people who have discovered the perfect system for time management, employee motivation, dealing with problem staff . . . you name the challenge, and someone has a 7-step plan to address it. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe in continuous learning and finding strategies to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of my work. I also believe there is no one strategy or approach that works for everyone, and it concerns me when I see leaders second-guess their innate wisdom because an “expert” suggests a different approach. (Apparently, after a certain age, some of us no longer hear parental whispers in our ear asking, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge . . .”)
Trust your gut. That is where your innate wisdom lies. People of faith may experience God’s guidance through such twinges. Think about it. When individuals challenge each other with the phrase “have you got the guts” or comment that something “took guts”, they are usually talking about something more than “nerve”. They are talking about courage . . . conviction . . . resolve . . . the willingness to make decisions others would be hesitant to make because you were compelled by an internal nudge. The wisdom of your gut.
A few items to note related to gutsy leadership:
• Your gut is not going to scream over all the external noise going on in your life. You have to get quiet enough, for long enough, to let the message unfold. That can be hard with deadlines and distractions and a to-do list that is a mile long.
• Listening to your gut can be hard because may not tell you what you want to hear. Go ahead . . . try to argue with it. I have found that inner pull to be pretty persistent and to possess an enviable track record for being right.
• You can usually back up that nudge with facts and a plausible plan for the path you are choosing to pursue, which helps you — and everyone else impacted by the decision — feel more comfortable moving forward.
• When you try to rationalize your way out of what you know in your gut to be true (which we all try to do from time to time), just realize that you will probably get another chance to make the right decision, even if that means digging your way of the hole you created by making convincing yourself to make the wrong one.
Leadership is not a black and white endeavor. It requires a sharp mind and a heart that is open to following one’s innate wisdom. Do you have the guts?