Intuition and its place at work!

Do we use intuition at work? And can it help you in your business or career? These are some of the questions I explore in my book, ‘Intuition Unlock the Power.’ The answer is a resounding YES! Intuition is innate in all of us. It is unconscious knowing, or knowing without knowing how we know! We actually have nerves around the heart and gut that give the brain information, and there is a centre in the brain responsible for intuition. It sits very closely to creativity and empathy. This is why intuition is known as ‘a whole of body knowing.’

Tapping into our intuition at work can be valuable in many ways:
1. When deciding if a person trustworthy e.g. a potential collaborator.
2. In making decisions, you can use both rational problem-solving and your intuition.
3. In determining which direction to take in relation to work or career.
4. By sleeping on problems, we allow our intuition to work during the night. This is why we often wake up with a solution!
5. It enhances creativity, which is useful in many work situations.

In the business field, there are a number of researchers who consider the role of intuition in decision-making. They suggest that there can be a variety of reasons for why we are likely to use our intuition rather than solely relying on the logical mind, including positive moods and individual differences in thinking style. They also report that managers use intuition in a range of different ways; for example, moving backwards and forwards between rational thinking and intuition when making decisions.

In addition, it is said that senior managers use intuition when a high level of uncertainty exists and little previous precedent, when ‘facts’ are limited or do not clearly point the way to go, when data are of little use, when several possible and appropriate solutions exist to choose from, when time is limited and there is pressure to come up with the right decision. It is reported that high level business and military decision makers often turn to their intuition.

In the nursing, teaching and health fields, intuition is commonly used. There is a term called ‘clinical intuition’, which refers to sensing what is happening behind the client or patient’s words. Personally, I use intuition on a day-to-day basis in my practice. I wouldn’t want to be without it!

Like any other skill, you can develop your intuition by following these steps:
• Make space for intuition in your lives, through de-cluttering our schedules, our minds and practising self-care.
• Connect with yourself and others, by being aware of what you value in life and focusing on balance.
• Practising meditation and mindfulness, as inner stillness is the key to connecting with your intuition!
• Exploring your creativity, as creativity and intuition enhance each other.
• Accessing your unconscious mind through meditation, looking for signs or symbols, and your dreams.
• Practising positivity as positive emotions open us up to intuition. We can cultivate these through kindness, gratitude and positive thinking.
• Applying intuition in your everyday and working life. Listen to your body, become more self-aware, meditate and apply intuition in decision-making.

The central message is to TRUST your heart-felt knowledge and gut feelings at work, and enjoy the benefits. So start tapping into your intuition at work today! You can find out more in ‘Intuition Unlock the Power,’ available on this website!

Agor, W.H., 1986, ‘The Logic of Intuition: How top executives make important decisions’, Organizational Dynamics. 1996; 14 (3): 5-18.

Dane, E. and Pratt, M.G., 2007, ‘Exploring Intuition and its Role in Managerial Decision Making’, Academy of Management Review. 2007; 32: 33-54.

Howell, C, 2013, Intuition Unlock the Power, Exisle, NSW.

Marks-Tarlow, T., 2012, Clinical Intuition in Psychotherapy: The neurobiology of embodied response, W.W. Norton & Company, New York.

Sadler-Smith, E. and Burke, A.L., 2009, ‘Fostering Intuition into Management Education: Resources and activities’, Journal of Management Education, vol. 33, 239-262.

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