Are You A “Tuned In” IT Manager?

by drjim on January 9, 2009

Great IT Leaders Know How To Resonate With Their Staff And Make Gut Decisions

Great IT Leaders Know How To Resonate With Their Staff And Make Gut Decisions

Just how do great IT managers go about making decisions? We all have different ways of doing this, but many of us talk about making “gut decisions”. What this is really a way of saying is that an IT leader who has good business instincts is a great value to the company that they work for.

Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis have written an article in the Harvard Business Review in which they call this type of leadership as being the ability to recognize patterns. We’d all like to have more of this kind of accurate decision making ability – so where does it come from? Bad news here – it comes from extensive experience.

If you want to become known as someone who can make good, quick decisions, then start trusting your gut; however, also make sure that you get as many inputs from others as possible. The time that it requires to get inputs from others can often take too long to collect. What’s an IT leader to do?

It turns out that you can probably trust your gut. This is because in your brain you have a class of neuron cells that are called “spindle cells”. This type of neurons both attaches to other cells easier and transmits information to them quicker.

The ability to quickly connect and transmit judgments, beliefs, and emotions creates what scientists like to call our “social guidance system”. This system gets used whenever we have to make a choice among several different alternatives.

This system also helps us to make up our minds as to if someone that we meet is trustworthy. It turns out that within 1/20th of a second these spindle cells will fire and we’ll decide how we feel about someone. Studies have shown that these quick decisions actually turn out to be quite accurate.

What all this means is that as long as you can “tune in” to your staff’s moods, you should feel comfortable trusting your gut instincts. There is a physical side to all of this that can impact your staff.

It’s called “resonance”. Researcher Annie McKee says that this is similar to what you see when you see people dancing together, getting ready to kiss, or when they are playing musical instruments together. Teams that are being lead by a skilled IT leader are often physically coordinated in how and when their bodies move together during meetings.

Give this some thought and start trusting your gut more. It appears as though your first thought is more often then not the right decision!

Do you trust your first impressions? Do you ever seek inputs from others in order to confirm what your initial impression was? Do your first impressions turn out more often than not to be right or wrong? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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