The Competitive Advantage of "Woman's Intuition"
There are few women in the world who cannot point to a time where there “woman’s intuition” did not save their life, limb, finances, or emotional well-being. The feeling like “something is off” that sends the body into fight-or-flight mode is a familiar one to those who have ever dated, driven, or walked through a parking garage after dark. The same intuitive feelings that guide our personal relationships also play a role in how we interact with colleagues in the workplace. In fact, those who have figured out how to leverage intuition find themselves more successful than they could have imagined.
A New Definition of “Woman’s Intuition”
Before his groundbreaking book, “Emotional Intelligence” hit the shelves in 1995, Daniel Goleman had committed his psychological research to defining what made some people more socially aware and others socially inept. What he wound up with was the idea that emotional intelligence, or how people navigate interactions with others, was just as, if not more, critical than intellectual ability. This rang especially true in businesses around the country as they began examining their top performers and finding one common thread – they all had an uncanny ability to identify and manage not only their emotions, but those of the people they worked with. While emotional intelligence itself is a skill that can be learned and honed, studies have shown that women consistently display more natural emotional intelligence than men.
Self-Awareness is a Critical Skill
The question now boils down to, how do we leverage our superior emotional quotient in the workplace? The key is to be as self aware as possible. While many mentors exist that can guide us through the process of self-discovery, the hard work of uncovering and evaluating your strengths and weaknesses is left to you. As painful as the process of self-evaluation can be (no one likes to take a long, hard look at the things they don’t do well), the result is an ability to recognize the strengths in others that can accommodate for your weaknesses. For instance, if you are exceptional at coming up with new and novel ways to streamline your work flow, but struggle communicating the implementation, you could pair yourself with someone who is a great communicator that can share your vision with other workers in an engaging way.
Self-awareness also comes into play when we begin to set goals and conscious intentions. As humans, we tend to play to our strengths, taking the path of least emotional resistance. Left to our own devices, we will retool our strengths into self-proclaimed weaknesses to avoid doing the hard emotional work of changing. Even worse, it is difficult to articulate intentions for growth if you are not aware enough to understand where you are weak. Conscious self-evaluation and high levels of self-awareness allow us to see our weaknesses for what they are – areas where conscious intention can create improvement. While woman’s intuition may not be the psychological term for our emotional quotient, it is an asset in the workplace. Once we begin treating it as such, we begin to see how it creates opportunities we otherwise would not have.