If you worked in an interviewing capacity in the '80s or '90s, you probably watched "More Than a Gut Feeling," a top-selling corporate training video that taught viewers that hiring someone based on your gut feeling during an interview can lead to disastrous results.The same caution applies to refining your leadership skills.


As an event design specialist, my job is to ensure that my team is making the best decisions on behalf of our clients, and that takes more than a gut feeling. I have specific check-in points our team members use to ensure they are on track and to avoid missing important deadlines, which could cost my clients tens of thousands of dollars.


You, too, are likely responsible for hitting deadlines, contributing to the company's profitability and making decisions based on solid facts. In other words, you don't just wing it; you rely on your past experiences and the tools and resources you currently have in place that you know provide those stellar results.


When you work with other team members who aren't following the processes, you're responsible for stepping in and taking ownership to bring everyone back on track. It may seem easier to ignore those issues or that you can address them later on, but not addressing issues diminishes how others view you as a leader and can quickly snowball into an unhealthy environment. While an employee might not initially be happy with you, your job is to help your staff apply rigor and discipline to their positions.


I like to lead within a 24-hour period, meaning if there is an issue, I like to share it right away or within the next 24 hours, to help my employees quickly correct the issue. I do it with the utmost calm demeanor, helping employees maintain their self-esteem, and if they embrace it, they ultimately can grow even quicker in their positions.


Strengthen your leadership skills by redirecting your staff to use the tools that have been put in place to help them be successful. By doing so, eliminate any gut feelings and get to the actual heart of the issue. And if you do have "more than a gut feeling" that something needs your attention, you're probably right!



Michelle DeClerck, a certified meeting planner, founded Conference Event Management and Financial Speakers Bureau, a woman-owned business enterprise and provider of event, conference, incentive travel and meeting experiences. She is working to involve college students with the Iowa Women's Leadership Connection. The National Association of Woman Business Owners recognized her as one of its Woman Business Owners of the Year. She can be reached at Michelle@myCEM.com.


Connection points: Michelle is president of the board of directors for Opportunity on Deck and Opportunity on Court, a member of Matthew 25 Hunger Initiatives in Central Iowa, and is involved with both the Iowa Women's Leadership Connection and the National Association of Women Business Owners. She has led the staging committee for the West Des Moines Valley High School show choir,  and she enjoys speaking on female leadership, business ownership and mentoring. She's also addicted to self-help business books and loves recommendations.