In the English language, a common phrase used to be ‘it doesn’t sit well with me’. It’s fallen out of common usage and I rarely hear leaders use this phrase during our coaching sessions. I wish it would come into common usage again.
In my leadership roles, long before I review facts, figures, and tangible evidence related to a situation, I sometimes get that feeling of ‘it doesn’t sit well with me’. I might not yet be able to explain what is wrong, what is not feeling right, or why I am hesitating. This simple phrase alerts me and those around me that we need to dig deeper before moving forward.
What is more common now, in my work with leaders, is to hear ‘my gut tells me…’ (mostly from men) or ‘my intuition says…’ (mostly from women).
These also imply the use of the intelligence provided by intuition and even by our bodily reactions. They also imply a ‘knowing’ that is not (yet) based on tangible evidence.
However, the person who utters these phrases is then expected to be able to finish the sentence with some kind of justification for their feeling. The phrase ‘it doesn’t sit well with me’ is more definitive, a statement all on its own. A statement that does not require immediate justification.
In our leadership development work, we have a focus on learning to develop the leadership capacity of working with both intangible (unseen) and tangible (seen) information to make the best choices. Working with both the gut feeling or intuition as well as the facts, figures and tangible evidence. Working with the collective intelligence of the individual and the organization.
Thriving in a performance environment of constant internal and external change has increased the challenges for leadership. To thrive in this performance environment, leaders need to develop and expand their leadership capacity. In the past, emphasis was placed on leaders working from a data-driven approach, making decisions based on tangible (seen) information. This was effective in a more limited performance environment. To thrive today, leaders also need to reap the benefits of working with intangible (unseen) information to make the best choices for and with their people.
This ability to notice when something ‘doesn’t sit well with me’ is the starting point of working with the intangible information.
How might using this phrase ‘it doesn’t sit well with me’ benefit you in the leadership of your work? And if you are an international reader, we’d also love to know if there is an equivalent saying in your primary language. Leave a reply below.
Recently I was working with a group and they ask a question, my response to them was to answer the question and then to end the answer with “I have no proof for this, I only know it intuitively.” There were several nods around the circle which indicated to me that I was not the only person who “knew” something that was not necessarily based on “facts.” What we know in our “gut” or intuitively is important to consider as leaders.