Drawing as a Skill for Creative Leadership
April 22, 2011 Leave a Comment
For many years I have wanted to capture the images I see in my mind in enough detail so that those around me could understand them. I am a visual thinker and connect images mentally, however, I am unable to present them physically. In 2010, I attended the CPSI conference and joined Jon Pearson’s Draw Power. At a minimum, I expected he would be able to help me capture the vivid pictures in my mind onto paper. I envisioned myself becoming adept at taking the realistic images in my mind and capturing them in a recognizable format for all to see and understand. Well, I was wrong – in a good way
Fortunately, Jon had something even greater in store. Through exercises in scribbling and doodling, Jon helped participants connect visual images and verbal descriptions using our hearts rather than our minds. At first, this was awkward. To draw without thinking took a great deal of effort. But because we only had a few seconds per drawing, disconnecting my mind from my body became easier. After leading us in a quick doodle, Jon asked us to articulate what the image said about us. Interestingly, a few stray marks on a page quickly turned into my description, ‘I am a tenacious person and all of these dots on the page represent the number of angles I take to solve a challenge.’ The Draw Power session helped me understand a picture really is worth a thousand words.
In thinking about the connection between creativity and leadership, I see the best leaders as the one’s who connect with the heart, make it irresistible to follow them, and who help you, very simply, to understand the vision for the future, what to expect, and how you can help. All this makes me wonder, might drawing be a skill for creative leadership? If a picture is worth a thousand words (and, I know this to be true because I experienced it first hand), perhaps leaders can employ drawing skills as a way of building resonance.