5 ways to use your team’s instincts to your advantage.

Teams are built in many shapes, sizes, talents, personalities, and yes, instincts. The instincts within your team members are hardwired, meaning they won’t change with good leadership, the best process, or whatever unique plan you create.

Instincts are forever, but you can use your team’s instincts to your advantage.

In this blog post, I’m going to cover 5 ways you can immediately utilize the instincts of your team (no matter what size team you have). These 5 ways will change how you address, respond, and continue to build your teams moving forward.

1. Instincts are not insights

Your instincts are wired within your person, while your insights are based – and created – upon experiences. For example, your natural instinct as a presenter may be to simplify the message for the audience, while your insights after being a presenter for 20 years will help you define what simplification and reiteration of that message will work and be understood best. As a manager, you must learn to differentiate between these two elements, especially as you’re hiring and expanding your teams (and dynamics that correlate).

2. Behavior is largely based on cultural factors and instincts

By getting to know your team’s instincts, you’ll be able to provide better management processes to the entire team (and the individuals within it). Since your team will hold tightly to their instincts, whether they know them or not, you’ll want to understand them to further grasp the behavior (i.e. the actions or inactions) of your team. By using those factors to your advantage, you will be able to lead them well.

3. Instincts work together – and against – each other

Much like personalities, instincts can have positive and negative ramifications within your team. For example, if two people both hold the instinct of adaptation (flexibility) when it comes to the follow through of a project, you may be missing opportunities to systemize and expand. The moral is that your team has be derived in certain ways, and these ways can either work together, or not. It’s also important to note that “not working together well” doesn’t mean that these individuals aren’t cordial, or good at working together. What it means is that your team isn’t optimized the best it can be based on instinctual factors; the items they’re pre-wired with.

4. Studies back hiring based on instinct

Many studies suggest the power of instincts when it comes to making human resource decisions. According to Ron Kelemen on Investors.com, “StrengthsFinder helps us understand one another as a team so that we get a sense of why they are the way they are,” he said. “It makes us more well-rounded… and Kolbe helps you get the right person in the right seat and keeps you from hiring clones of yourself.” This reiterates the importance of assessing your team’s instincts, both your current and future team members. As studies show, an individual’s instincts directly impact the success of a team as a whole.

5. Living within your instincts provides undeniable power

Team’s that operate within systems, ecosystems, and with leadership that understand their instincts, are undeniably powerful. Think about it this way, the more self aware you are, the better prepared you are to know your own limitations. Now think about that within a team dynamic, every person operating in a position – and direction – that both positively refuels them individually and increases their team influence collectively.

So remember, instincts have implications when it comes to how you hire and scale your teams. If you’re interested in having your team take a Kolbe assessment, and seeing what instincts you currently have on your team, let’s connect! Remember, you can’t change someone else’s instincts, you can only work within them.


Stephen Tisch