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Emotional intelligence

/ How you can appreciate, measure and develop your Intuition

How you can appreciate, measure and develop your Intuition

IN: Emotional intelligence.30 JULY, 2021
How you can appreciate, measure and develop your Intuition

Have you ever had to choose between two equally difficult choices and managed, almost like magic, to choose the right one? The choice process may not have been obvious, but your brain knew how to interpret small clues, which may even have gone unnoticed by your rational brain. This process, often seen as supernatural, is intuition.

Intuition gives you an overview of situations and various areas of your life depend on it. In particular, this overview is truly appreciated in business. In a recent study, of 93 Nobel Prize winners from the past 16 years, 82 admitted that intuition plays an important role in scientific and creative discoveries. This study, and others like this, have led to more and more companies of excellence to seek to develop this competence in their employees because these traits of intuition save, in certain situations, a lot of time and money.


What is the intuition?

Intuition is the quick and unconscious reaction of any threat or reward clues (Gordon, 2016). In other words, your brain rationally processes the details that your instinct (flight- fight) automatically recognizes and verbally communicates the solutions. These solutions arise in the constant comparison that the brain performs between the situation it finds itself in, similar previous situations, past knowledge and present variables.

Let's look at the following example, about choosing between two difficult options:

This processing takes place in different areas and situations of our life, from "sensing" when the project you work on will be well received by your boss, to preparing yourself minutes before a child having a tantrum, or to get out of the way seconds before hitting someone.

The intuitive “sixth sense”, with its spectacular processing power, increases the precision, the efficiency of the decision- making process and the confidence in it.


Measure your intuition

The intuition is further identified as one of the 8 psychological functions identified by Carl Jung. The typology of Jung creates a theoretical framework on the personality types and develops the self-knowledge and the improvement of human relations. Within this theory, Jung identified intuition as one of the functions – that is, the way a person deals with the world (internal and external), within their own preferences and comfort level.

According to Jung's definition, Intuition is a type of perception, which works outside the usual conscious process. It's irrational, but it comes from the complex integration of large amounts of information rather than simply seeing or hearing.

In this definition, the intuitive people live focused in the future, immersed in a world of possibilities. They process information through patterns and impressions they take from their environment. Are attracted to profound ideas, abstract concepts and metaphors, valuing the inspiration and the imagination. They are the people who can clearly read between the lines. They are also analytical and able to look at the world through a broader lens (the big picture ). 

Taking Jung's theory, Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers developed a diagnosis about people's personality: the MBTI - Myers-Briggs Type Indicator . Access to this test allows to not only measure the intuition and the other psychological types of Jung, but also to get global statistics on the differentiation of people according to Jung's typology. For example, through Myers-Briggs we know that around 30 % of the population is identified with the Intuition Function. Will you be one of those people? If you want to know your MBTI type, and if it is intuitive, contact us .

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is also used in business programs, such as talent management, culture change, team building and development leadership.


The benefits of being intuitive:

More and more reasons are being discovered every day to encourage the demand for intuitive people in all areas of business. And there is a reason for that. According to Chopra & Tanzi (2017), intuitive people:

  1. Make quick and correct decisions.
  2. Capture subtle facial expressions.
  3. Rely on introspection (knowing something directly without waiting for reason to reach a conclusion ) .
  4. Make creative leaps .
  5. Are good at making judgments about people – they can read people.
  6. Trust and follow their first instinct in quick judgments.

In addition to the aforementioned time saving, these types of benefits can also lead to a maximization of productivity – “I don't waste time with ideas that don't work” – and in building trusting relationships.

In a more specific example, intuition can be the difference between surviving or not! A recent study (2014) by the Office of Naval Research, which aimed to study intuition for military personnel, found that intuition as a competency was actively preventing war and combat casualties as evidenced by military reports that indicated moments such as: “something told me to get out of the way” or “There was a 6th sense that told me to get out of there”. As a result, this study set out to train and teach these precognitive skills in order to anticipate snipers, bombs and other attacks.


This skill is part of emotional intelligence and as such a good intuition will benefit your emotional skills such as Empathy, Creativity, Emotional control (intuition prevents the accumulation of negative emotions and thoughts) and Self-awareness (by listening to your subconscious, you are discovering the hidden truths about yourself and the situations you find yourself in).

Intuition is still essential in problem solving – which makes it a highly sought-after skill by companies. People who use intuition to solve problems have a clearer view of the situation, obtaining information and ideas that are more creative and meaningful and, as such, more efficient. It is also effective in reducing stress and anxiety by identifying and dealing with problems more effectively and with a fuller perspective, which in turn helps you make better, more integrated decisions.


Intuition and Leadership

As already mentioned, intuition is now one of the elements sought after in companies as a way to elevate innovation and big-picture vision. It is also crucial to effective leadership. Bonnie Marcus explains the importance of intuition for leadership this way: “Neuroscience research tells us that working memory storage is limited. We need information from all parts of the brain to manage highly complex decisions.”

According to LIDER magazine, “spiritual connectivity and intuitive intelligence are identified as two of the main characteristics to be developed by leaders of the 21st century.” And leaders like Steve Jobs and Arianna Huffington already know this.

Steve Jobs discovered the power of intuition during his travels to India. During these trips, Jobs became fascinated with the spiritual rather than materialistic culture that used intuition. This curiosity about this intuitive culture influenced his work ethic, leading him to study different areas (other than his own) and read books on varied topics. Although this divergence from his path seems strange, it was these intuitive deviations that led him to develop his company APPLE and led him to transform it into a futuristic top company.

But Jobs wasn't the only one who saw the value of intuition for leadership. According to Rick Snyder (author of the book Decisive Intuition: Use your Gut Instincts to Make Smart Business Decisions), using intuition is the most efficient way to manage your business and career, because the best decisions occur when you integrate intuition with critical thinking. Intuition demonstrates an intelligence that is able to read a situation quickly – such as an ever-changing market –, make decisions using multiple resources, and extract information and data much faster than the conscious mind can analyze.

This does not mean that one should abandon logic in favor of intuition, but knowing when to listen to one over the other. The business world is full of rules, but when your intuition warns you of danger, you must take the time to listen and take the necessary action. Incidentally, logic often appears to explain intuitive reasoning, such as, for example, moral decisions that you make in a second and that you later manage to justify in a logical and rational way.

Intuitive leaders also have a competitive advantage because they are faster, wiser, and more determined:

  1. An intuitive leader is not afraid to make decisions.
    • Although this type of leader doesn't rush into a decision, he exercises his intuition by allowing his unconscious mind to consider the options before giving his answer.
  2. The intuitive leader has a security system that alerts him when things are going wrong.
    • Their warning system tells them who to trust.
  3. The intuitive leader is open to the world.
    • Using intuition, their views and perceptions are much broader and they can more easily see the progress of their projects..

And, as author Sue Hawkes (Chasing Perfection: Minimize Self-Doubt and Maximize Success) reminds us: “When you are truly aligned – mind, body, spirit and intellect – you are open and receptive to greater things (…) takes risks (…) That's when innovation happens”.


How to develop your intuition

There are several ways to improve your intuition, from mental or physical exercises, to training. The important thing is to really dedicate yourself to exploring your intuitive side!

To improve your intuition you need to openly explore all its dimensions:


I also suggest that you dedicate yourself to mindfulness. Intuitive people look at the present as a giant offer of information that allows them to make intuitive leaps, silencing the inner voices that don't interest them (the background noise that prevents them from absorbing the situation). Nothing in their environment is wasted as unimportant, but rather as a weapon that allows them to reach a solution. Exercise your presence with Mindfulness: calm your overactive brain and achieve full attention to events. Start your Mindfulness training with exercises using apps like Headspace and Serenity.


The balance of intuition

Remember: like any ability, intuition can get out of balance.

Exercise your intuition in a balanced way and get ready to see a new world full of opportunities and solutions that you never conceived before.



Discover our Emotional Intelligence program.

If you want to do training for your team or coaching in this area, contact us by email or by phone +351 217 230 791



Inês Cabral | Project Manager


Gordon, E. (2016). The Brain Revolution: Know and Train New Brain Habits. Dog Ear Publishing [E-Book].

Chopra, D. & Tanzi, R. E. (2017). Super Cérebro. Liberte o poder explosivo da sua mente para maximizar a saúde, felicidade e o bem-estar espiritual. 4ª Edição, Self – Desenvolvimento Pessoal.