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Leadership and Intuitive Decision-Making Essay

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Updated: Jul 9th, 2020


Many authors observe that intuition could be challenging or expressly hard to define, though it performs a vital role in our daily lives (Maxwell, 2003). Steve Jobs had at one time referred to it as a more powerful ingredient in decision-making than the intellect. For whatever the case, our intuition is always with us in all that we do and it informs our decision in many ways. These machinations, therefore, point to intuition as having the capacity to obtain knowledge without necessarily having a reason to do so.

Intuition, according to Davis and Davis (2003) is from Latin word, intueri, whose English equivalence is to see. Psychologists offer that intuition has a lot to do with the inner perception of the individual, and often regarded within the psychology study as factual rationality (Davis & Davis 2003). Intuition as an area of study is diverse and rich in meaning. Again, Ghuman (2011) opines that all that pertains to intuition may shape decision-making in very many ways.

In the concept of decision-making, intuition provides the platform on which to view, understand, conceptualize, and offer judgments based on what we may not empirically verify in rational sense. Because of this fact, intuition cannot be subject to psychological scholarship alone (Scott-Ladd & Chan, 2004). Intuition is largely a study of interest in various domains such as religion, commerce, law, literature, medicine, military and much more. Moreover, intuition has deep roots in creative abilities and researches opine that intuition has deep association with decision-making. However, it is no doubt that good corporate leaders often employ intuitive abilities and not necessarily logic to help them in making decisions.

What promotes or prevents a leader from using intuition

Some of the inspirations for using intuitive instincts in leadership are because of its efficacy in helping in making tough decisions. Bill Gates in his popular assertions suggested that leaders often have to depend on intuitive to make independent and rational decisions (Stein & Book, 2011). While the conditions under which leaders function may limit or even impede the application of coherent analysis, intuition is, nonetheless, the norm for decision-making by leaders in many organizations. The awareness and application of intuition by leaders continues to advance research on intuition to authenticate its efficacy in leadership (Ghuman, 2011).

However, some people consider intuition to be the antithesis of rational decision-making by leaders. This is so because it limits the scope of consultation, thereby resulting in parochial judgment of situations. However, some schools of thought believe that employing intuition hinged on experience has the capacity to help leaders determine the best course of action since this will imply that they master the essence and understanding of different situations.

As Stein and Book (2011) observe, defining the application of intuition in this way helps leaders to illuminate the problem under study, and consequently offer a potential solution to arrest the situation. Most leaders, according to McCown (2010), have to face problems relating to decision-making in order to improve their capacity to make rapid and rational decisions; they tend to explore past experiences, thus making intuition to be effective. Therefore, experiences promote the use of intuition by leaders in the concept of decision-making.

The role of decision-making to a leader’s position

Decision-making is the core of leadership; without good decision-making, organizations are likely to wallow in abject stagnation. Much of the literature about leadership delves much on decision-making, and implies that in the absence of critical decision-making, things are likely to go awry for the entire leadership (Koman & Wolff, 2008). In addition, decision-making has to be timely, complete, and accurate to ensure things go well for the leadership. As Mills (2005) notes, decision alone does not change anything in the concept of leadership. Upon the making of a decision by a leader, for example, the leader faces the task of implementing such a decision. In developing a decision, a leader has to follow the laid down procedures that guarantees correct implementation of the decision.

Often, a leader must gather the relevant information to the decision and volunteer procedural fairness to the followers whose interests form part of the proposed decision. In delivering leadership decisions, a leader has to ensure that impartiality prevails to involve everyone else. Lack of impartiality or fairness in the concept of decision-making may be against or favor specific individuals within; this may reflect dismally on a leader’s position (Freedman & Salovey, 2007).

In making the decision, especially after ascertaining that the pertinent facts or materials are in place, Klann (2003) opines that a leader should dutifully apply the applicable guide to the latter and ensure that his followers judiciously exercise their discretion within the laid down procedures. Although training in decision-making has the capacity to build a leader’s position, effective decision-making is an enablement that normally accompanies leadership. Decision-making, therefore, invites leaders to see the sense of ensuring the full implementation of the proposed decisions.

The difference between logical reasoning decision-making and intuition decision making

In a logical reasoning decision-making, well-articulated legal authority has to exist nonetheless. Most processes that lead to logical decision-making consist of direct or indirect legislation. However, as Scott-Ladd and Chan (2004) note, this is normally under the discretion granted to a leader by the legislation that runs an organization. Here, leaders ensure that the interpretation and application of the decision is appropriate and methodically applied under the legislation that guarantees it (Freedman & Salovey, 2007). To achieve logical reasoning decision-making, a leader must always ensure that good records back their assessment on various outstanding issues.

Accurate and well-articulated record-keeping is a vital component in logical reasoning decision-making. Even though observers reckon it has a tendency of cognitive bias, intuition decision-making can also play substantially in decision-making. In the intuitive decision-making, the mind normally controls what has to form part of the decision (Ames & Flynn, 2007). Here, records are not necessarily effective as what influence the decision are observable facts, opinions, and beliefs. Unlike logical reasoning decision-making that relies heavily on records, intuitive decision-making relies on what others think about a situation to help in the hypothesis. In this facet, there is no reference to legislation, as well as little or no interpretation of the decision made.


From the forgoing analysis, it is prudent to say that decision-making is a broad faculty that can take leadership to greater heights and eventually deliver an organization to the much-desired success. The core of leadership in any capacity thrives under decision-making. Clearly, without clear channels that guarantee good decision-making, organizations can only perform dismally. The different types of decision-making imply that different leadership can benefit from either the logical reasoning decision-making or intuition decision-making. Overall, the basis of decision-making is its timeliness, completeness, logicality, and accuracy. These elements will ensure things go well for the leadership and organization regardless of the choice of decision.


Ames, D. R., & Flynn, F. J. (2007). What Breaks A Leader: The Curvilinear Relation Between Assertiveness And Leadership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(2), 307-324.

Davis, S. H., & Davis, P. B. (2003). The intuitive dimensions of administrative decision-making. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press.

Freedman, J., & Salovey, P. (2007). At the heart of leadership: how to get results with emotional intelligence. San Mateo, CA: Six Seconds.

Ghuman, U. (2011). Building a Model of Group Emotional Intelligence. Team Performance Management, 17(7/8), 418-439.

Klann, G. (2003). Character Study: Strengthening the Heart of Good Leadership. Leadership in Action, 23(3), 3-7.

Koman, E. S., & Wolff, S. B. (2008). Emotional intelligence competencies in the team and team leader: A multi-level examination of the impact of emotional intelligence on team performance. Journal of Management Development, 27(1), 55-75.

Maxwell, J. (2003). . Web.

McCown, N. (2010). Developing intuitive decision-making in modern military leadership. Web.

Mills, Q. (2005). The Importance of leadership. Web.

Scott-Ladd, B., & Chan, C. C. (2004). Emotional intelligence and participation in decision-making: strategies for promoting organizational learning and change. Strategic Change, 13(2), 95-105.

Stein, S., & Book, H. E. (2011). The EQ edge: emotional intelligence and your success (3rd ed.). Mississauga, Ont.: Jossey-Bass.

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