Ep 181 – Working and Leading With Dyslexia

Being a workplace that overlooks diversity and inclusion is not an option in today’s talent marketplace. Accessibility and accommodation aren’t take it or leave it – they’re crucial to recruiting, engaging and retaining valuable talent. I’ve written a lot about accessibility in the recruiting process, from application to onboarding to ongoing training and development, as well as how important it is to understand how employees learn. On this topic, I wanted to talk to an expert in the field who has personal experience in working with dyslexia.

A special thank you to our podcast sponsor is ClearCompany

Episode 181: Working with Dyslexia with Will Wheeler (@wwleadership)

On this episode of the Workology Podcast, I’m joined by Will Wheeler, Founder/Director of thedyslexicevolution.com and prolific public speaker on the topics of recruitment, diversity, inclusion, leadership, entrepreneurship and more. I connected with Will after watching his DisruptHR talk titled, “Leaders adapting to different leaning styles in the workplace.” We’ve embedded his presentation in the transcript below. On this podcast interview, Will shares with us his own journey being diagnosed with dyslexia and how he works to coach, train, and help others work and collaborate together.

Will says that every person who has dyslexia has a different experience and that they process information differently. Dyslexia is defined as a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. Will says his ability to problem solve and see the world differently was a challenge in school causing him to fail exams. However, once he understood his diagnosis and how to work within the context of the workplace he began to see it as a gift and a competitive advantage that made him better at business and things like problem solving.

Why Managers Need to Change Their Leadership Style(s)

Will’s work in coaching and training helps those with dyslexia understand how to not only job search but thrive with the diagnosis. Additionally, Will challenges leaders and managers to be more flexible with their leadership styles especially when you have team members with a learning disability.

I find the coaching work and training Will does with manager’s particularly interesting because in a traditional work environment, employees have been expected to just shut up and deal with their managers. Thankfully, as empathetic leadership becomes more accepted, leaders are realizing that flexibility is the key to getting the best out of their employees. This approach offers a more inclusive experience which also suits the current talent market. Businesses can’t afford to overlook retention and employee development any longer regardless if you have a learning disability or not.

Over 40 million American adults are dyslexic and only 2 million people know it. #stat #accessiblework Click To Tweet

Learning with Disabilities

People with dyslexia excel and/or gifted in areas of art, computer science, design, drama, electronics math, mechanics, sales, and sports. A reported 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic.

Will has such a passion for making workplaces accessible for candidates and employees with learning disabilities. With his background in recruiting and training and his willingness to share his own personal experience, Will is a force for change in HR diversity and inclusion.

Connect with Will Wheeler


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*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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