Business Spotlight Audio 12/2021
    head over heart or heart over head?
    Von Bob Dignen

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    Erin Perry: Welcome, Bob. What exactly do we mean by intuition and how is it relevant to leadership?

    Bob Dignen: OK, well, in terms of definition, I’m not sure there is actually a scientific cast-iron definition | cast-ironfeststehende Definition | Gusseisencast-iron definition of “intuition”. For me, it’s a kind of unconscious process of feeling or sensing that something is true, is present around you. Or that something is even missing. And that often arises, I think, when we come to take a decision, for example, when we meet somebody or when we’re in a new situation. It’s a kind of a gut instinct/ feeling (ifml.)Bauchgefühlgut instinct, information coming to your mind and you’re not really sure what it is or where it’s from. That might not sound very relevant for leadership today, but I think it is relevant because, at the end of the day, it’s a source of information which we can use when we want to take a decision, when we want to assess a person or a situation. So, I don’t think we should turn it off. I’m not sure we can turn it off. I guess the choice from a leadership point of view is to choose to to dial sth. up/downetw. nach unten/oben anpassendial it up or maybe to dial it down.

    Perry: What are the dangers of intuition for leaders?

    Dignen: I think probably the biggest risk of what someone calls intuition is that it’s used to cover up basically some form of biasVorgenommenheitbias, prejudiceVorurteilprejudice or intolerance. You know, I meet somebody, I don’t feel right with the person. I decide not to give them the job. And is that really based upon a positive thing we can call intuition? Or is it just the to surface sth.hier: etw. kenntlich machensurfacing of some kind of negative bias? You know, I’ve done a lot of training, leadership training, over the years, and the coreKern; hier: Mittelpunkt, Zentrumcore of that training is to to expose oneself to sth.sich etw. aussetzenexpose ourselves often to the unconscious negativity and suspicionhier: Zweifel, Vermutungsuspicion that we bring to first meetings with people or to new situations. And I often encourage people to distrust these first impressions because they can be totally false. And I’m usually encouraging people to listen hard, collect the data, ask questions, and suggesting that a more rational and controlled process is needed. So, you know, that word “intuition”, I think, can carry the risk that you’re just dealing with bias, particularly if people decide to follow their intuition.

    Perry: And what are the potential benefits of intuition?

    Dignen: Well, if you want to take a positive look at intuition, as I’ve said before, you can just see it as an information process, but less kind of formally cognitive, just feeling and sensing. And that feeling and sensing is probably connected to a hard data process, but it’s just subconscious. You know, the brain cannot consciously assimilate all the information available to it, that is available to the ears, the eyes, to touch. And for all of those things that we don’t or can’t consciously process, it’s still entering our brains very often at a subconscious level. You know, we hear and see things without even knowing that we’re doing it. And maybe that’s what intuition is: information which is there and still useful but not fully available to our conscious mind as a clear idea. It just presents itself as a kind of a feeling and a sensation. So, I think if we look at it on that basis, as potentially useful data, then maybe we should pay attention to it and kind of to interrogate sth.etw. befragen; hier: hinterfrageninterrogate it. And maybe use it once it’s in the conscious mind to help us to assess sb.jmdn. beurteilen, einschätzenassess decisions, people or situations.

    Perry: Finally, Bob, in what circumstances have you personally found intuition useful at work?

    Dignen: I think I use intuition a lot in my coaching work where I’m very, very connected to my gut feelings, my own intuitions which I observe a lot when I’m talking to somebody. You know, even, for example, if I’m feeling comfortable with an individual, when it’s possible to kind of relax a little bit, I try to notice that and even challenge myself a little bit and make myself wonder why do I have this feeling of comfort? Internally, I’m asking myself, is this person really a nice, balanced, positive person who likes me in returnseiner-/ihrerseitsin return? Or are these feelings of comfort and intuitive connection to the person maybe getting in the way of my critical thinking as a coach? Is the other person maybe even manipulating my feelings? And on the other side, you know, when you have that feeling, maybe a vague feeling of anxietyAngst(gefühl)anxiety, feeling unsettledverunsichert, unruhigunsettled, that something’s kind of wrong with what the person is saying to me. Again, I notice that and I challenge it. Firstly, I am I feeling insecure because I’m in front of a senior managerhochrangige Führungskraftsenior manager. Is it my problem? Or am I detecting with this intuition something unconscious maybe in the other person, an anxiety from their past, from a previousfrüher(e,s)previous relationship which is now being to push sth. on to sb.jmdm. etw. aufdrängen; hier: etw. auf jmdn. übertragenpushed on to me. And I think managing these intuitions which flow through all of us all the time, I think it brings a lot of benefits to coaching. It allows me to stay very open to what people are saying. I listen very hard to them and to myself, which builds trust. It also allows me to gain access to another realmBereichrealm of information which I can then investigate with questions. And that can take conversations to a depth maybe people have never really experienced before, which can to unlock sth.etw. entriegeln; hier: aufdeckenunlock insightErkenntnis, Einblickinsights for them, and at the end of the day delivers them results. 

    Perry: Thanks very much, Bob. We to look forward to sth.sich auf etw. freuenlook forward to talking to you again next time.

    Dignen: Thanks very much.

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