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4 Reasons Intuition Is an Essential Leadership Skill Want to follow your heart, listen to your gut and stay aligned with your higher mission? Then intuition is your secret weapon.

By Laura Stupple Edited by Kara McIntyre

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Have I lost you already?

If you're a business leader, probably. Entrepreneurs and business leaders are renowned for being tough as nails, highly rational and skeptical of airy fairy concepts. On the surface, intuition might sound like the latter.

But what if I told you that intuitive business requires less effort, and delivers better results? Your ears would probably perk up.

Alongside creativity, risk-taking and resilience, intuition is the key trait that all business leaders should lean into. Intuition is generally accepted to be the information we receive instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning or fact.

Also known as "sixth-sense", "gut feeling" and "inner knowing", intuition refers to our ability to subconsciously receive information. It's important to note that intuition isn't pure instinct, and it's not chaos either. Intuition is the subtle voice that resides inside of us all and shows us the right path to take.

If you're not already convinced that you need a little more intuition in your life, here are four reasons that it's one of the most underrated business (and life) skills.

Related: Go With Your Gut: How to Use Your Intuition to Succeed in Business

1. Intuition keeps you aligned

Deep down, we all know when something is "off."

But it's easy to ignore that gut feeling when our mind tells us that something is the "better" choice. Rationality can tell us that a business deal, opportunity or relationship is good for us. When deep down, we know it's not.

When we follow our intuition, we avoid the heartache of taking a path that's not aligned with our higher mission. If your intuition tells you something is off, it's off. Run.

2. You can speed up response time

In a world where everyone is time-poor, speeding up decisions can be a superpower. Studies have shown that leading with intuition speeds up your response time.

This alone isn't that impressive, so it's good news that the same study found that "nonconscious emotional information can boost accuracy and confidence." You heard that right. Leading with intuition makes you quicker and more accurate.

As an entrepreneur or business leader, this can be an invaluable skill. But it's important to highlight that data, processes and facts also have their place. The best results tend to come when intuition complements the hard evidence.

Related: Don't (Always) Trust Your Gut: How Embracing Process Leads to Growth

3. Intuition takes you closer to your ideal customer

Data, history and analysis can tell us a lot about our ideal customer.

But no matter how much research we do, we can never know our ideal customer's mind. Unless, of course, we connect on a deeper level.

Intuition brings us closer to natural intelligence and the flow of the universe. In doing so, we can gain access to information that seems to appear from nowhere. It's just a deep sense of knowing.

This knowing can extend to information about our ideal customer too. By tapping into our intuition we can serve our customers on a deeper level.

Listen to your gut when it tells you what people want. It knows more than you think.

4. You'll become a better leader

When you go with your gut, the decision-making process becomes a lot clearer. You'll be able to stop second guessing your choices, and give better direction to your team.

With more clarity in your own mind, you'll be able to stay true to your vision. Less confusion, more clarity makes for a better business leader.

Related: Is There Room for Intuition in Business? (Spoiler alert, the answer is yes).

Intuition coupled with data is the perfect combination

I use intuition a lot in my business. SEO (search engine optimization) is partly intuition, partly data.

When crafting SEO content, we use data to show us where and how people are searching. But the innate knowledge of how our ideal customer thinks and wants to receive content is largely intuitive.

When I get a feeling that something will resonate, or that words in that order will work, I run with it. And when you practice that skill over and over, the intuitive muscle gets stronger.

Don't just take it from me. Studies have found that while "the skill of intuitive pattern recognition isn't automatically available to everyone … Neither is it a special power: It comes with experience, practice, learning and constructive feedback."

Intuition is a powerful tool that's available to us all. Why not step out of your comfort zone and use it to become a better leader?

Laura Stupple is the founder of LJS Content, a marketing agency in the U.K. and Australia. She crafts award-winning content for brands like Bloom & Wild, T2, Gillette, WestPac and more. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the boxing ring or sipping coffee and watching the world go by.

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