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Managing From The Gut

katy hinz synectics mediaWhen I first took on the role of managing a team, I have to be honest, it felt a bit daunting. Questions ran through my head such as:

“How do I know I’m doing it right?”

“How do I maintain a positive, friendly vibe while still guiding and directing?”

“How do I make sure we’re all headed in the right direction?”

There are dozens (if not hundreds!) of books and courses out there on managing better and creating a healthy successful team. How do you know who to listen to and which plan to follow? It make take practice, but I found that my answer is to manage by intuition. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by natural leaders. From my parents to my friends and my co-workers, I have had some phenomenal role models. I try to learn as much as I can from them. Perhaps it drives them a bit nuts at times, but I ask LOTS of question…Heck my first words were “Is that?” I base my management style around observing, questioning, then doing. I watch, I absorb the good and the bad and I see how that can apply to being a better manager to my team. The best thing to do as a manager – LISTEN. Listen to seasoned team members, listen to those you manage, and maybe most importantly, listen to your gut.

A few weeks ago I found myself a bit stressed out. With a lot of change going on with my team, I began to question the way I was managing them. Thoughts ran through my head: “Should I set more structure?” “Should I be harder on them?” “What kind of manager should I really be?” After days of internal debate, it finally came to me one night – just be authentic. There are no rules other than honesty and compassion. Its impossible to know what problems will arise tomorrow, or in the next minute. So it’s impossible to have a set-in-stone plan for management. Luckily we are all born with a natural tendency to orient ourselves towards the right path. We can do this by following our gut instinct.

Yes, that’s right – that knot in your stomach is the truth talking. Have you ever noticed that when something feels right and easy, your body is relaxed? Everything flows nicely and just WORKS? Whether you know it or not, you’ve been listening to your gut. On the flip side, when you truly know you’re headed in the wrong direction, making a poor choice and ignoring the truth of the matter, there will be tension in the body, perhaps a lot of over-analysis, and a pit in the gut. It’s true. Just start to notice it. I can speak from experience that it works. For me, both large and small decisions are made from the gut. Some take a few nanoseconds to make, and others require a serious “gut check.” I have never once been steered wrong by following my intuition, and I now rely on it as my management compass. Don’t get me wrong, every once in a while I’ll challenge my gut … “It can’t be right ALL the time, right?” Nope, it is.

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Listen to Your Gut.

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