Top Three Leadership Lessons I Learned From Psych | Leader 411

Top Three Leadership Lessons I Learned From Psych



Leadership lessons are found everywhere, including in Psych, a USA Network comedy series about a fake psychic, a blueberry and a pharmaceutical rep. These are the top three leadership lessons that stand out from the 8 seasons currently found on Amazon Prime:

Leadership Lesson #1: Don’t take your work too seriously.

Shawn Spencer is mostly over the top. Burton Guster, his pharmaceutical rep friend and associate, is more responsible and focused, but neither waste a moment to share a quick joke and a quick snack.

Humor is an invitation to play and is extremely useful in building trust in teams. When humor is used, defenses come down and memories are made. Employees can share an “inside joke” which helps an employee feel part of the team. Sharing food is a signal that you are allowing someone to take part in your inner circle. Get to know those around you and have fun with them. This will reduce stress and increase team effectiveness.

Leadership in Life and in TV

Leadership Lesson #2: Pay attention to detail.

[Spoiler Alert] Shawn isn’t psychic. His father trained him to be hyper aware of the details. Carlton Lassiter, the head detective, is his antithesis. He is organized and efficient, looking to quickly solve cases so he can move on to the next. Lassiter represents many managers in the workplace. They show up, take a quick look, thinking they solved the case, they move on. Sometimes he’s right. A lot of times he’s wrong.

Managers are crucial in the workplace. We need them. I recently heard a debate that all managers should be leaders. Not necessarily. We need managers, but sometimes we also need to risk efficiency in order to take our time and look over all the details.

Learn to love details and data. Look for clues in data, both quantitative AND qualitative. As an entrepreneurship professor, I work with a lot of small businesses. Those that use data the most effectively on social media advertising, customer trends and behaviors (Disney calls this Guestology), tend to excel.


Leadership in Life and in TV


Leadership Lesson #3: Love what you do.

Shawn, Gus, Lassiter, and Juliet love their jobs. Sometimes they don’t act like they do because jobs are jobs. They have their ups and downs, but when given a chance to walk away, the detective quartet choose to stay. They stay because they love what they do.

When people love what they do, they’ll contribute their full selves to the team/organization. They will be more willing to share their ideas and their increase their effort. You may even find that those that love what they do tend to work on their projects late on weeknights and even on weekends, not because they fear losing their jobs, but because they actually enjoy what they do. I recently interviewed an interior design student about her degree program. While school work can be overwhelming with the amount of hours required every week, she wouldn’t change it for anything. She loves what she does.

People that love what they do also continue to develop themselves, learning on the side and investing in themselves to make themselves even more effective at work. Invest in your employees. Help them love their jobs and you’ll receive a tremendous return on your investment.

Leadership in Life and in TV

In summary, leadership lessons are everywhere. We see it in real life and in fictional, silly TV shows. What sets great leaders apart is how they learn from these examples and apply the lessons to their own leadership styles and organizations.

About the author: John is a recognized professor, public speaker, trainer, author and entrepreneur. Business is his passion and his hobby. He started as a 7th grade history and English teacher (loved it), then produced musical events (loved it) followed by a long stint at a Fortune 100 manufacturing company (miss it sometimes). He eventually earned his his PhD and currently resides in Indiana teaching and researching leadership and entrepreneurship at Indiana University. You can reach him directly at

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