Good Leadership Skills: Six Tips on Trusting Your InstinctsGood leadership skills have evolved over time.

Before spreadsheets, financial charts, and technological advancements, the most important leadership skill was a finely honed instinct.

We knew how to depend on our inner ears and eyes to truly read a person or situation. We would find subtle clues that would influence our choices.

For real success, today's leaders, too, need to learn to use and trust their intuitive sense.

Nadia Goodman, contributor to Entrepreneur, says, “As a business leader, you constantly need to come up with new ideas. You're creating a vision for tomorrow—a world that doesn’t exist yet—and your greatest resource for getting it right is your instincts.”

She provides some tips on developing good leadership skills by trusting your instincts about building a successful business.

Follow Your Passion

Goodman says if you can’t get an idea out of your head, your gut is telling you it has merit. When you have a strong hunch, follow through.

Good leadership skills sometimes mean taking a calculated risk. Can you get your team on board with your vision?


You have to support your instinct with hard work. When it gets tough, you’ll always find a way through. If you doubt yourself, you won’t give 100 percent.

One of the most powerful ways to commit to an idea or goal is to work on believing you're capable. As Sam Thomas Davies wrote in his blog post, A Tiny, Powerful Idea:

If you don’t even believe you’re the kind of person who can achieve the goals you have, then no amount or reading them aloud, daily (or any other recommended practice) is going to inspire you to take action.

Engross Yourself in the World Around Your Idea

We learn business instincts with time and experience.

“When you become immersed in a subject or group, your mind draws on all of that knowledge with very little effort,” says Goodman.

Get your hands dirty and know every aspect of your business. Yes, delegation is an important aspect of effectiveness, but don't give away all the tough jobs.

Langley Steinert addressed this issue in a recent article in Inc. He said:

For me, finding opportunities to stay engaged in day-to-day operations has been an important element of my leadership style. As they say, the best form of management is to lead by doing.

Ignore the Rules

Set new rules, anticipate problems, and solve them.

Know you may fail.

If you do fail, use it as an opportunity to learn how your mistakes killed the idea. This will help you sharpen your instincts.

Good Leadership Skills Include Welcoming Change

Be flexible about your ideas. They will change and evolve, but know that your basic instincts tend to stay the same, says Goodman.

Being flexible is a good habit. Embracing change is one of the good leadership skills that will serve you throughout your career.


Take some time to reflect your experiences. Think about what you expected from the outset, how the situation turned out, and what you can learn from the situation.

This reflection will help you develop a variety of good leadership skills. Many of these will become instinctive.

As you reflect, you'll see how your instincts may have led you down a different path. Over time, you’ll learn to trust your instincts.

It's About More Than Trend Lines

Yes, business metrics are important. But successful leaders rely on their own observations and instinct, not just on management consultants or trend lines.

They develop good leadership skills by observing their own products and customer reactions.

And it's often their own instincts that tip them off on the right deal, the right product, or the right time.

How do you develop good leadership skills and learn to trust your instincts?

Image by UGN, Inc., via