By David Bowman
Have you noticed that your Visionary has been really thrown off her game and doesn’t seem to be coping as well since life and our social structures have been thrown into chaos? Do you remember in your Focus Day™ or whenever you took your first cut at your Accountability Chart, and your Implementer was really trying to help you understand that a Visionary is often wildly different than more conventional business personalities? One of the key differences is that the Visionary is driven much more by emotion than who we typify a linear, factual, analytical “businessperson.”
These differences are very special because only 3% of the population are truly Visionaries, but they make up a large amount of financial contributions to our economy. Like all “gifts,” there is a dark side. The very intuition that allows a Visionary to see seemingly disconnected data and observations and project to an endpoint that provides opportunities for growth, also can make a Visionary wired to worry to obsession when there’s an overload of negative data and observations that create a far darker projection.
I talked with a Visionary client last week, and he explained to me that it’s been very hard for him to engage with his leadership team at times. There’s a “what’s the point” perspective when you can envision huge potential negative changes in society, and that seems way more important than planning where we’re going to put people’s desks when we return to in-person work.
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While all Visionaries share the attribute of processing the world largely from emotion, not all Visionaries focus on the same types of emotion. I’ve found that there are four predominant types of processing through emotion or through “feeling.” These are Individual, Couple, Social, and Global feelers.
There are those that predominately filter things by their own understanding of how they feel, needing no input from others. Those that sense how another person feels and gain clarity about their own feelings by talking through things with another person. Those that intuitively know how a team or social group are feeling, and thereby understand how to process what they are personally feeling. And lastly, those that are attuned to whole societies, companies, communities; they are tuned into how well the global perspective aligns with the norms and structures that protect global ideals.
This last category is often what we think of when we think of the Visionary role being the “keeper of the culture” for your organization. Please be kind to these Visionaries; if you can only imagine the sensory overload that the world is throwing at them right now, you would not want to change places. Help them get Rocks done, give them more space than usual to process, and mostly, help them put one foot in front of the other by providing practical actions that give them reprieve in the here and now because, for them, the future world may look very dark right now.