Your Developing Great Leaders tool can be used to explore a full range of topics related to leadership development. Whether it’s the initial transition points from staffer or team member to leadership, the leadership skills for moving projects forward, or the tools for leading by inﬂuence, Developing Great Leaders will help increase performance and insight.
Every person who is asked to lead starts from a different place. Strengths and weaknesses will vary. Further, the environments and cultures in which leaders operate also can be quite different—sometimes, even from day to day! The key to leadership development, then, is not necessarily to focus solely on abstract knowledge, but on the skills and attitudes that will help leaders succeed in a variety of settings.
The development of great leaders is not a singular event. On the contrary, the best leaders are always continuing to hone their abilities. Similarly, a single session with Developing Great Leaders is a great way to begin exploring many of the elements necessary to build skills—but only through consistent effort over time will such skills take hold.
Why Use Images?
The use of images in facilitation can bring many benefits:
- Create more engaging processes
- Increase participation
- Connect the dots
- Level the playing ﬁeld for non-native speakers
- Inspire storytelling
- Increase learning through fun
- Break out of habitual patterns
Create more engaging processes
Photographs have a natural way of getting people to look and ask questions. There are usually stories attached to them. Th ink about the last time you were around someone showing pictures of a recent trip or of their family to a group of people. What happens? Stories get told, people ask questions and the lookers begin to tell stories of their own, because the combination of stories and pictures spark connections for them. People are engaged!
This is very similar to the process that will happen with the VisualsSpeak approach. People will be engaged. And when they get engaged, they participate.
Because you are using a visual-based tool, you have helped people to engage with the process. This kind of engagement develops a synergy. When one person “gets it,” the others are soon to follow. Even people who had no inclination or desire to participate when they arrived are much more inclined to do so when others get actively involved. Who wants to be the odd one out?
Connect the dots
Images help participants get below the surface quickly. They create a door between the conscious and subconscious, giving participants the ability to make associations and connections to information that is not always directly accessible otherwise. This linkage allows them to take leaps in their thinking by getting them out of their literal, analytical minds.
Level the playing field for non-native speakers
If your participants include non-native speakers of the dominant language, then using images gives them another way to express themselves. The photographs will allow these participants to literally show their thoughts and gives them ways to communicate other than in just words. This has the added benefit of helping them feel included and empowered to share more. As a result, VisualsSpeak tools are used successfully across a wide range of intercultural settings.
Stories are everywhere. They are the basis of communication regardless of culture. Every day we are bombarded with stories in the form of advertisements, movies, news, books, radio, songs and more. Even ﬁnancial reports are stories told in the language of mathematics! Images help unlock the inner storyteller in your participants.
Increase learning through fun
Searching through stacks of images is a process that invokes fun in participants. They will compare and share stories about them, engage in creative dialogues, and ﬁnd new ways to express themselves. Don’t ever doubt the power of increased learning through having fun—especially when it comes to adults!
Breaking out of habitual patterns
It is easy to fall into routines of thinking—it’s actually how we develop our expertise! Most of the time, this is very helpful, but it can also tip into patterns that do not allow for new possibilities. Using images to spark associations can lead us to new ideas and insights that are beyond what we think about with words alone. The brain processes pictures faster and in larger chunks, so we can further open the possibility of making leaps in our thinking by using images.
Designing Your VisualsSpeak Session
The best design will be the one that takes the particular participants, the environment they are expected to function within, and what they hope to accomplish into account. This product represents many years of professional facilitation experience and it is recommended that initially, you follow the outlined steps for best results.
Once you are comfortable with using VisualsSpeak Developing Great Leaders approach, feel free to make changes to the suggested formats to customize the processes. The more relevant the pieces are to your situation and your participants, the better your results will be.
Consider these steps in designing your session:
- Step 1: Identify the most important characteristics of your participants and the time constraints of the session(s).
- Step 2: Assess the participants’ current skills and readiness across the leadership development focus areas.
- Step 3: Select the area(s) of focus that most closely match the skills and abilities gaps of the participants.
- Step 4: If the participants are not ready to focus on the desired outcome(s) you want to accomplish, what area of focus would move them toward that outcome?
- Step 5: Choose a sequence that ﬁ ts into the time allotted.
- Step 6: Select the starting prompt from the ﬁrst area of focus. Make any adjustments to customize for your audience.
- Step 7: Plan suggestions for carrying the session content back into the workplace.
- Step 8: Gather any needed materials and make logistical arrangements, including seating layout.