Week #1 = Shock (mandatory work from home, seriously?)

Week #2 = Novelty (Zoom meetings, crazy hat day, check out my workspace!)

Week #3 = Realization (wait, we need to actually run our business this way?)

Week #4 (this week) = Fatigue (oh my, this is hard)

Next week? Grief. Specifically, anticipatory grief—a fear of what is yet to come.

The weeks after? Anxiety, Depression.

When asked about absolute truths (something that is true at all times and all places, regardless of the circumstances), I always offer the same response: Leadership matters.

About Author Don Bailey

Don Bailey held executive roles in the property/casualty insurance industry for more than 25 years before launching Bristlecone Partners, a Madison, N.J.-based coaching, consulting and leadership development firm, with an emphasis on leadership guided by neuroscience principles.

• Before launching Bristlecone, he served as President of Global Sales for Marsh.

• Prior to that, he was President of Allstate’s $5 billion B2B division and Chair of Encompass, the $1 billion mass affluent personal lines subsidiary of Allstate. He was also Chairman of Ivantage, Allstate’s $1 billion in-house brokerage operation catering to out-of-scope residential customers.

• Before joining Allstate, Bailey was the North American CEO for Willis, where he created and executed a disruptive sales and distribution strategy for his 8,000 employees and engineered the $2 billion acquisition of Hilb Rogal & Hobbs.

• During his insurance career, Bailey also worked as a chief underwriting officer for Allianz Insurance Company for specialty risk lines and as a managing director of Aon’s Financial Services Group.

• In addition to his coaching and consulting business, Bailey currently serves on the Board of Advisors of ICG/SageSure and Zywave.

Right now, we need leadership. We need it at all levels and in all environments: government, business, school, home. Specifically, we need psychic leadership. To be clear, I am not suggesting we need leaders that can see the future. If you choose to google “psychic leadership” right now, you will find nothing. Zero results.

Let’s define it. There are so many types, styles and approaches to leadership. In fact, if you google “leadership” you will find six billion results. You will learn about the myriad leadership styles: autocratic, authoritative, transactional, servant, charismatic, etc. Nowhere in here, however, is leadership of the mind adequately addressed.

For me, psychic leadership is defined as the art and science of leading a group of people or an organization on mindset.

More than anything, we are battling our mindsets right now. Our mindset can lead us into a ditch or it can propel us safely down the highway. Unfortunately, most leaders are neither trained nor skilled in psychic leadership. Frankly, we have very few leaders of any sort right now. We have plenty of managers (definition: controlling process or people) but are lacking in leadership of any kind. Organizations have not been effective in developing leaders.

Psychic leadership balances themes of resilience and empathy. Too much and too little of either is a problem.

Too little resilience: “Our business is doomed!”

Too much resilience: “Heads down, this is nothing, business as usual.”

Too little empathy: “Stop complaining, we have results to deliver.”

Too much empathy: “This must be so hard for you, how do you get out of bed?”

Just right? “Our operating environment is brutal right now. It must be a challenge for each of you to deliver results and take care of your family. I understand. We will get through this together.”

Winston Churchill is the patron saint of psychic leadership. The war was won because he won hearts and minds. Beyond all else, he targeted people’s mindsets. He won the mindsets of his countrymen and women. He won the mindsets of an American president and the American people. In winning mindsets, he won the war. The mindset challenge was far greater than the challenges he faced in strategy, tactics and resources.

How did he do this? Churchill developed and mastered a communication style that was targeted to winning mindsets. Each speech generally followed the same pattern:

Beginning: Unvarnished facts (no spin)…

“Far be it for me to paint a rosy picture of the future. Indeed, I do not think we should be justified in using any but the most somber tones and colors while our people and the whole English speaking world are passing through a dark and deadly valley.” (House of Commons, Jan. 22, 1941)

End: Emotional resilience and absolute personal commitment…

“We shall fight on the seas and the oceans. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight on the fields and in the streets. We shall fight on the hills. We shall never surrender.” (House of Commons, June 4, 1940)

“I have nothing to offer but blood toil, tears and sweat.” (House of Commons, May 13, 1940)

Virtually every communication from Churchill followed this pattern. He sought to create emotion. Emotion inspires action. Emotion moves people and changes behaviors. Emotion is the key to the mind and our mindset.

Psychic leadership is characterized by transparency, reality, the present, resilience and empathy. And all in proper proportion and frequency. As you consider where you can add value, please consider developing or amplifying your psychic leadership. The world of neuroscience offers many insights on the mind, how it functions and what moves it in times of crisis. The success of your business and the mental health of your teams and family will be determined by the mindset that guides them through the weeks ahead.

Let’s make sure one of the weeks ahead is named “Victory.”


Author Don Bailey originally published this article on LinkedIn on April 9, 2020. Carrier Management is republishing the article with his permission.

Winston Churchill Photo Credit: Yousuf Karsh. Library and Archives Canada, e010751643

Topics Leadership Church