Intuition and Leadership: What is the Link?

Intuition and Leadership: What is the Link?

Have you ever interviewed a potential staff person or manager who on paper looked amazing, answered the questions thoughtfully, came to the interview well-groomed and appeared well-mannered and reliable? Your rational mind (left brain) thought “this a great candidate; I want to hire her or him”, yet there was something niggling that you couldn’t quite put your finger on. Something that didn’t feel right; yet you went ahead and hired that person. Three months after they started their position, you realized they were not a good “fit” for the organization. One of your organizational values was collaboration and they were extremely competitive to the point of withholding information from other team leads. On reflection, you realized that your body had told you this person wasn’t right for the organization and yet you let your head overrule your heart and did not listen to your body’s wisdom.

As women, many of us have been taught from a young age that in order to get ahead and be successful, we need to suppress our natural feminine qualities such as intuition. These feminine qualities have been undervalued in general in our families and by society and we have learned that in order to get ahead in business and in life that we need to assume the more dominant masculine qualities such as rationality and valuing logic over intuition.

The recent pandemic has shone the light on many aspects of our societies and organizations that are no longer working. It has reinforced the need for us to reconnect with our authentic feminine leadership qualities[1] such as intuition, collaboration and creativity[2] and recognize their value and importance.

As authentic feminine leaders how can we reconnect with those parts of ourselves that we have disconnected with based on previous feedback and experience? How can we learn to listen to and trust in our body’s wisdom?

  1. The first step is to believe that your intuition is a valuable quality and you can learn to access it and trust it. Dr. Bruce Lipton[3], a stem cell biologist, has done extensive research to show that the cells of our body are affected by our thoughts. This means your thoughts and beliefs biochemically affect your body and you have the power to change them.

Did you know that our heart and gut have nerve endings that send signals to our brains? The Heart Math Institute – – has done research showing the powerful influence our hearts and guts have on decision-making and strategic thinking.

  • Become consciously aware of your body. Notice the feelings you are experiencing. For example; have you sensed tension and stress when you walk into certain environments or organizations? We often say “We could cut the air with a knife.” Have you noticed that when interacting with certain individuals you feel tense and can’t wait to leave their presence? These are examples of our bodies warning us and trying to keep us safe.

On the other hand, have you been with someone who makes you feel appreciated and valued in his or her presence? Our bodies are amazing receivers and transmitters of information. Integrating tools and strategies that bring conscious awareness into our lives enhance our leadership abilities.

  • Learn practices and tools that help you get out of your head and into your body.
  • Body Scanning – is a mindfulness technique from Eastern psychology that is rooted in Buddhist principles. Mindfulness teaches us to focus on feeling emotions and sensations in our bodies and notice what is going on in our minds. The practice helps us to focus and be present. Rather than thinking about the argument we had with our partner this morning or worrying about the performance review we are having this afternoon, instead we focus on the here and now.  

Here’s an example of how to do body scanning. I find it helpful to do it in bed on awakening. It then “sets me up for the day”.

Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take several deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then return to regular breathing; in through your nose, and out through your nose.

From a state of open and relaxed awareness begin scanning your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Notice any sensations you feel (without judging them) from your scalp, forehead, ears, eyes, nose, cheeks, and mouth. Then move down through the rest of your body. You may scan several times from head to toe in one sitting, or, after scanning once, attend to places in your body where you feel the most sensation. Experiment with this tool and find the process that is most useful for you. This may be done first thing in the morning and/or at night before you retire. It also may be done at various other times during the day.

  • Spend regular time in nature – make a conscious effort to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors in nature each day if possible. Find a park, go for a hike or walk among trees or close to a body of water. Notice how your body feels when in the forest or by water. Focus on your senses rather than your thoughts.
  • Practice yoga regularly (at least 3 times a week) – There are many types of yoga available. Experiment with different styles and find one that works for you. Yin yoga is a good place to start, especially if you have an active mind that rarely stops chattering. Yin has a meditative quality, is usually done in a warm room and involves holding poses for up to five minutes so that connective tissues loosens and energy blocks release. There are many studios who now offer classes online for minimal cost.
  • Meditate daily (for at least 10 minutes) You may be thinking: “I don’t have time to meditate”. That’s what I thought for many years until January 2013 when after almost burning out, I began meditating on a daily basis. I was and still am amazed by the benefits. Meditation enables me to be less reactive and more responsive in my interactions with others. I’ve noticed that at times it enables my brain to “split” so that when I’m engaged in an interaction, I also experience part of myself “sitting on my shoulder” observing the interaction. This provides me with the big picture and helps me stay calm and detached from the outcome. Daily meditation has enabled me to quiet my mind, freeing me from the chatter that is often not helpful in focusing and moving toward my goals.

  • Nurture your body on a regular basis – I find it helpful to have a total body massage every 4 to 6 weeks with a trusted practitioner. Some massage therapists are also healers and energy workers and I ask them what they notice about my body. These massage therapists/body workers can help you go within and get in touch with what your body is telling you. They can also help release energy blocks that may be negatively impacting your body and decision-making.

Another strategy I’ve found helpful is to ask myself/my body “how can I nurture myself today?”, listen to what comes up and reward myself. It could be a bubble bath with candles and your favorite music playing, it could be curling up and reading your favorite book or poetry. Whatever it is, listen to the message and if possible, reward yourself.

This is a start. For additional evidence and tools to help you reconnect with your intuition and learn how to use your body to make wise decisions see Chapter 4 in my book Learning to Dance with Life: A Guide for High Achieving Women.

I welcome your comments below. What tools and strategies have helped you get in touch with your intuition? Do you agree that intuition is an important authentic feminine leadership quality?

[1] It is important to note that men can also possess and learn feminine leadership qualities.


[3] To learn more about Dr. Lipton’s groundbreaking work check out his book “The Biology of Belief – Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles” (2008) published by Hay House Inc.

The Value of Tapping into & Expressing Your Creative Side

The Value of Tapping into & Expressing Your Creative Side

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“Creativity is in the soul of our being and our highest form of living.

It is the presence within all of us that relentlessly longs for expression.”

(Suzanne Kyra, Welcome Home to Yourself, p. 84)

In today’s society, knowledge and information are highly valued and in general creativity and the arts are undervalued. We are all so “plugged in” that many of us are challenged to keep up with all of our emails, text messages, social media, etc., let alone make time to tap into and express our creative sides.

Danny Gregory, in his book, The Creative License (2006) states that “the ability and need to be creative are hard-wired into all of us” (p. 10). He notes that we need to give ourselves permission to be the artists we truly are. Gregory cautions that when we stifle our creativity “our minds grow narrower… we grow remote from others, categorizing and stereotyping the people we meet … we speed through life, wanting to get on to the next thing, unable to take pleasure in the moment” (pp. 10 & 11).


The right side of the brain is associated with creativity, emotion, “big picture thinking” and lack of structure; whereas the left- brain is associated with logic, structure, words, language and rational thought. We all draw on both sides of the brain for a variety of tasks we do in our day-to-day lives; however, we often are either right or left-brain dominant. An example of someone who is left brain dominant would be a person who is orderly, logical, and analytical; whereas someone who is right brain dominant is more emotional, creative, and adventurous

Reconnecting with your right brain by taking up something you may have enjoyed as a child, or trying an artistic pursuit that is completely new; such as pottery, can help you connect with and tap into your creative side. Many people’s experience of painting, making pottery /throwing on a wheel and drawing; for example, makes them feel relaxed, focused (takes their mind off work) and in some cases, like a child at play.


With the increasing complexity of issues (such as climate change and new strains of flu) and the rapid rate of technological change we are experiencing, a number of people ;(e.g. Ken Robinson in “The Element” and Daniel Pink, in “A Whole New Mind”), are making the case that we need to shift our emphasis on a global level to the right brain from the left and change our educational systems and organizations to stimulate, encourage and reward creativity and innovation.

Pink (2005) believes we are moving from the “Information Age” to the “Conceptual Age”, a new age that requires a different way of thinking and a whole new approach to life and work. Pink emphasizes that to lead a successful and healthy life we need to use both sides of the brain. He calls this “whole-brain thinking”.

During the Information Age, more value was placed on the left side and in the new Conceptual Age using the right brain abilities will be necessary for success. Pink provides some hard data on the economic and social forces that are changing our work environments. The New Conceptual Age is one of “high concept” and “high touch”. To be successful in business in the future will require six abilities that Pink calls: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning.


How do you cultivate and release your creative spirit?  

1)   Sit down in a quiet place, free from distractions. Take a few deep breaths to relax yourself and close your eyes for a couple of minutes if you feel comfortable doing so.  Ask yourself the following questions and write down your responses to them. Be as truthful as possible (e.g. write down the first thing that comes to mind without judging or editing it).

  1. Do you consider yourself a creative person? If yes, why? If not, why not?
  2. Are there any creative pursuits you did as a child but haven’t done for years? If so, what are they?
  3. Are there some creative or artistic pursuits you would be interested in exploring?/trying out?

2)   Commit to either starting to integrate a childhood “passion” into your life or choose a new one such as “learning to play the piano” that perhaps you always wanted to do as a child but never had the opportunity to do or took the time for. Identify the next steps for taking action to integrate a new or “old” creative or artistic pursuit into your life. It’s helpful to use a 2- column table with “activity” heading one column and “timeline” on the next.

3)   Support is important when starting something new and continuing with it. Enlist the support of a friend, colleague or family member to encourage and support you in your new endeavor or invite them to join you in doing it.

Any new insights? What do you notice when you engage in an artistic or creative pursuit? We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

[1] “Tap into and Express Your Creative Side” is one of the 7 keys to Creative Living that are integrated into Creative Life Coaching’s group and one-on-one programs; and is one of the keys to cultivating improved health, happiness, fulfillment and inner peace.