Do You Know Your Learning Type?
Read time: 10 minutes
Hey 👋 - Alina here.
Happy Thursday to 321 thriving professionals!
Welcome to 6 new curious minds!
Grateful you chose to grow with our community!
One thing every manager or leader needs is to remain able to learn continuously.
Why? Because things change, dynamics change, technology change, laws, rules and procedures change, people's expectations change.
To face and handle this high amount of CHANGE, leaders and managers alike need to maintain themselves relevant in terms of knowledge to keep their decision making ability sharp.
Is it only about knowledge when it comes about learning?
One of the most overlooked aspects of learning is that, nowadays, many professional jobs have embedded some traits of leadership.
The effectiveness of a person in that management or leadership position stands also in the way the job holder learns about who they are and how they manifest in the execution of their job or role, as well as how they impact others in doing so.
In other words, learning is also about increasing self-awareness, i.e. understanding better who you are in a variety of situations.
Why is this important?
Because you may have lots of knowledge about management or leading, but, unless:
- you know yourself well enough to play your strengths to your advantage
- you understand how your weaknesses may hinder you or how you can play in your advantage, and
- you know your values and how these manifest through you
you may lose the clarity of action, especially at critical times, when under pressure.
In addition, knowing how we learn plays an equal importance.
The theory of learning identifies several ways of learning: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, reading and writing, interpersonal, intrapersonal. And this applies a lot when it is about learning new knowledge.
Learning about ourselves takes a form of reflection. Usually it is post factum and it gives us the possibility to observe our pattern of action or reaction and what this pattern created in us and around us. Every time we skip it or we do not reflect, we end up applying judgements and responding emotionally rather than seeing things clearly.
But, how to apply this knowledge in practice ?
I will give you a simple example why knowing your learning style and becoming aware and understanding how you (and other people) apply this learning make the difference for your performance.
Imagine you are a middle manager who has an idea of how to improve certain processes in your company creating the premises of significant economies. Based on your very educated intuition (after all you work there for 5 years and know inside out the systems and your organisation), you go very enthusiastically to your senior manager (appointed 6 months ago) to put forward this suggestion.
You ask for a 30 minutes meeting and know you need to be very prepared. So you have a speech prepared and start pouring data onto your senior manager who can hardly keep the pace with your logic.
You look at your manager and believe he does not see yet the benefit and try again, with even more passion and enthusiasm, and deliver once again your story. But while you were talking, you realise that some of your initial assumptions are not true and, therefore, in your second round of explanation you provide a different logic that puzzles even more your senior manager.
And while your manager is still unable to grasp all the elements and make a whole picture out of them, you make a new discovery: that to have a full picture of the situation you should have involved also two other managers, your peers, and evaluate how they would also receive the improvement you were thinking about.
While you were open and optimistic about the new insights you just had in talking to your manager, your manager starts to be more and more puzzled, and, frustrated of his time being abused by a not-enough prepared person (in his opinion), he suddenly gives you a harsh feedback that you should have been better prepared, you are talking now for 45 minutes and nothing is clear yet: neither the problem you wanted to solve nor the solution you intended to propose.
And as a result, he is now asking you to perform an audit of the processes you wanted to improve, and in one week to come with a written report presenting the current status, the issues (if any), the impact of the issues and the solutions as you see them.
And while 10 minutes ago you seemed to be happy with the progress and with a new understanding of how to connect even better the dots of your idea, you cannot now believe your ears when your manager is keeping you responsible for wasting 45 minutes of his time and he is now requiring you to do this useless audit report.
You leave the meeting very disappointed, feeling not heard and unfairly punished with having to do a task which is in no way productive and for which you have no time. You end up in frustration with your senior manager for him not seeing neither the beauty of your suggestion nor the opportunity of having some significant cuts in expenses. Furthermore, you feel your manager does not support you, not to say you perceive him being resistant to you or your ideas. And you conclude that it is pointless to come in the future and present your ideas to him, because it is obvious he does not understand what is happening in the company.
Have you been in such a situation or similar? Can you see what went wrong in this case in terms of communication and expectations?
Our middle manager does not know he has a learning style involving 3 ingredients: interpersonal communication (needing to exchange ideas and debate), hearing and talking through. Therefore, he is using his time to present this plan as a mean to review it, assess its strengths, crystalise what is important, what is possible, or what other elements need to be taken into consideration that he may already know but in a tacit way.
On the other hand, the senior manager has a learning style involving totally different ingredients: intrapersonal thinking (i.e. solitary learning) and visual / reading. Because of that, our senior manager iss overwhelmed by the details of the explanations provided by the middle manager, cannot receive them, nor make sense of the problem or of any solution. In fact, what he does is to create conditions for himself to learn in the way he knows to do it: i.e. he asks the middle manager to compile a writen report he would use then to study alone, to understand it first by himself, before making any move ahead and take any final decision.
Do you see how this is a typical case of two people believing they communicate, but each talking a different language?
Neither of them provided the other with the information in a way each of them was able to digest, to integrate in what they already know and feel confident about their understanding. As the result, each of them tried to protect as much as possible their safety:
The senior manager, by asking the information to be presented to him in a format he knew he can consume, by keeping accountable the middle manager for not being effective in his communication, and by acting with precaution postponing any action or decision, and preserving the status-quo until he could make an informed decision;
The middle manager by conclusioning that he should, in the future, avoid entering a similar situation because it is pointless, his manager would not understand, would not even listen to him, and, in fact, everything would turn into more work for him.
Neither of the managers took time to reflect about the quality of their interaction and learn about their real needs, or about how can they support each other in the future, to agree better the scope and purpose of their communication, and the process they are going to apply in communication.
What does this process look like? One example would be: the middle manager will bring a written description with is recommendations and will make a presentation to his senior manager using lots of visuals; they will openly discuss alternatives, explore ideas and brainstorm; at the end, they will sum up written conclusions, and will leave these for another couple of days with the senior manager, who will digest and assess their integration from a higher perspective.
Knowing your own learning style and that of your people and of your key stakeholders will give you a strong advantage in maintaining an open, authentic and uncluttered communication. Making other people aware of their communication styles and integrating this information in the way you communicate with them, will help you a lot in establishing your professional credibility and will leverage your technical knowledge.
Do you know your own learning style?
How do you learn about yourself?
How do you keep your self awareness?
To find out more on your learning style, read more or take a free quiz here:
- What are the 7 different learning styles and do they work?
- What’s your learning style? Quiz.
- What’s my learning style?
- Free Learning Style Quiz
Coaching sessions are the right environment in which the Coach has the possibility to observe how her Clients are learning, and where Clients can build their awareness about the importance of this topic and the skill of self-awareness.
If this topic brought you some clarity, made you reflect on your own purpose and meaning, inspired you in any way or energised you, write me back and tell me about your own experience in relation to creating or retrieving your own motivation.
What is specifically you were searching for when you looked for motivation? Is there another angle or perspective you would add to the above list?
Hope you found this newsletter interesting.
💥🎉 That’s pretty much all for today 💥🎉
- Learning is one skill setting apart outsetanding managers and leaders for the rest
- Learning is about knowedge
- Learning about self is as much important if not even more
- People have various styles in which they prefer to learn knowledge
- Learning about self and self development happens through a form of reflection
- Knowing your own learning style and that of your stakeholders will give you a strong advantage in maintaining an open, authentic and uncluttered communication.
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