Suzanne Doyle-Morris writes:
The successful women in IT I interviewed for Beyond the Boys’ Club: Strategies for Achieving Career Success as a Woman Working in a Male Dominated Field were without exception, sharp, analytical, and well-respected in their fields. They were also women who were comfortable using their intuition, in spite of the resistance that comes from working in fields which seemingly value “cold hard facts”.
The truth is, smart men also use their instincts, but going “with your gut” sounds more masculine and “credible” than “trusting your intuition”.
It does not mean senior leaders do not look at the facts or have an understanding of the external factors – but this knowledge does not fundamentally affect their decision; rather, it helps tailor it.
Philippa Snare, a Marketing Director at Microsoft UK, learned to trust her gut more as she progressed her career. She realised the people she respected most also had this approach.
She noticed: ‘Most men in IT tend to want to analyse data and pull out the spreadsheets before every decision. While I also look at the data before making a decision, I notice that I already have an idea of what I want to do before I look at analysis, and I trust my intuition.’
She continued: ‘The people I most respect here are also able to do that and at least are honest that they are going primarily with their gut.’
By all means, do your homework before making a decision, but also ask what you feel at your core before taking on a particularly difficult team member, accepting a new job or even staying in a current role.
When the women I coach begin to make decisions more from the gut, often in direct contradiction to their scientific and technical training, they may initially experience uncertainty – but never regret.
Suzanne Doyle-Morris is the author of Beyond the Boys’ Club: Strategies for Achieving Career Success as a Woman Working in a Male-dominated Field.
Suzanne’s next virtual career development ‘bootcamp’ runs in March.