I recently re-listened to John Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. The classic was originally written in 1997 but it still resonates today.

One “law” that stuck with me was #8, the Law of Intuition. Maxwell states that “leaders are readers” and use their intuition to read the room, read trends, read people, etc. He also believes that leaders read themselves and their current state of mind (i.e. emotional intelligence), as well as having an acute sense of the resources available to them. Maxwell calls it the ability to “smell” the intangibles such as morale and culture — the ability to get a pulse on the situation without reading reports or digesting facts.

As with all 21 of his laws, Maxwell believes that while some may have more innate abilities in an area, all skills can be developed. Think of what you have done to strengthen your ability to “read.” Practice evaluating a situation before you jump in. Make time for a bit of introspection to see where your strengths lie and where you need to devote effort. Follow trends and test whether your intuition is reliable. Leaders are readers of far more than books.

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