In episode 39 of The Changed Podcast, author of Visualeadership, Todd Cherches and host Aden Nepom discuss the importance of visual communication, listening in leadership, and being willing to ‘go back into the room’ to see what you might learn.
Todd is the CEO and cofounder of BigBlueGumball, a New York City-based management consulting firm specializing in leadership development, public speaking, and executive coaching.
Additionally, Todd is a three-time award-winning Adjunct Professor of leadership at NYU, and a Lecturer on leadership at Columbia University…
And he is a TEDx speaker, and the author of “VisuaLeadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life,” published last year by Post Hill Press/Simon & Schuster, and recently named by Thinkers360 as one of the “Top 50 Business Books to Read in 2021.”
Takeaways from this episode
- How we process change differs depending on whether it’s some change we are choosing to initiate, or if it’s a change that is being thrust upon us.
- Leading change in an organization can be hard, because we’re asking people to adopt and adapt to things they aren’t initiating for themselves. As leaders we can help people adapt more quickly by leading with understanding and empathy
- There are lots of terrible leaders out there, who have no idea they are leading badly.
- Our personal lens of the world (influenced by our upbringing, values, experiences etc) influence how we lead.
- A helpful mantra for leaders: “How do I get them to see what I am saying?”
- We can think of our visual thinking and communication like any muscle we can strengthen. It just takes training and practice
- In his book, VisuaLeadership, Todd Cherches breaks down visual thinking and communication into four categories:
- Visual drawings and objects
- Mental models and frameworks
- metaphor and analogy
- With any type of communication it is helpful to see your audiences needs and issues first, and then speak directly to those.
- When it comes to listening everyone thinks they are a good listener, but if you’re distracted and not listening fully you’re really doing a disservice as a leader, not just to your people, but to you and your organization.
- 360 degree awareness as a listener is mission critical to military tactical operations, self-defense, improv theatre and great leadership
- When Todd teaches listening he helps people understand 5 levels of listening
- Level 1 = ignoring
- Level 2 = pretending (nodding as if you’re listening.. while actually ignoring)
- Level 3 = listening to respond (filtering for key words while formulating what you want to say)
- Level 4 = attentive and actually taking information
- Level 5 – empathetic listening (this is the level of listening that leaders should be striving for)
Resources and references
If discussing what works best to create a positive dynamic at work is your jam, you may enjoy my conversation with Aoife O’Brien, host of Happier at Work (episode 31)
Poems referenced in the episode:
- The Daffodils (I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud) by William Wordsworth
- The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
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