Learning to manage the Learner in you – Strengthsfinder
According to Gallup, the essence of the talent theme of Learner is the following:
You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered — this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences — yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”
But a talent like this on itself is quite meaningless unless you develop and manage it. That is why we believe that “a well managed talent becomes a strength, but a mismanaged talent becomes a detriment”.
How do you manage the talent of Learner?
You love to learn. You never seem to be satisfied with knowing enough. This is great, but it can also become a problem if not managed well. You are a learner by heart and mind. Your energy for learning new things and acquiring new skills is simply astounding. Even more so when you have the opportunity to learn within your field of interest. This seemingly limitless longing to learn with the accompanying intellectual ability, has the possible effect that you can even become “stuck” in a “learning loop”. You can never know enough. You believe that it is impossible to know enough….and it probably is. But this same energy and belief of yours, may also cause you to never be satisfied with a result, be it when learning or doing. It is as if you cannot reach the finish line with satisfaction. This may have a detrimental effect on your performance or on you motivation levels. It needs well management.
You need to set your “learning limits”. You can use a deadline in time, or a deadline in another practical way to help you reach the finish line. The first step to really manage this aspect well, is awareness of when this happens to you. You need to be very certain that you get stuck, because you should not suppress your Learner Strength. It needs to go flat out, but, if you feel that you keep on coming back to the same things rather than reaching the goal you set with your learning, you know that it is a problem. You can command and control you Learner. Do it consciously. Do not feed it more if you know you need to move on with a task.
Learner as a talent needs to master new skills. You should actively feed this need. Your Learner makes you a master at perfecting skills. Not all skills….very specific skills that is within your interest and capacity to reach. This is such a strong need that you must give it specific attention. (Do not confuse “skill” with only something physical. It can also be a mental skill, emotional skill or spiritual skill.) Facts is, it is a need to learn the skill. If not, you will have a very frustrated talent!
Seek out new skills to master. Obviously this will naturally be within your interest field. But you should keep on seeking out new skills. You may even find that you get bored with some learning activities. Very often this is exactly because you actually see no challenge more in the underlying or obvious skill. Set your aim higher. Get involved with the real challenging and serious aspects surrounding the skills needed. Become the best in the field. If you feel you mastered it, move on. Acquire a new skill…
– by Dries Lombaard, founder and owner of Africanmosaic and TALENTmosaic.
Strengthsfinder opportunities in our community:
The Strengthsfinder workshop is an important part of Stellenbosch Gemeente’s vision for self development and growth for all individuals. The workshop takes place three times a year, for more information contact Sandra.
Important note when reading this: in this series, I simply focus on the specific talent in isolation. I do not take the crucial element of Talent Dynamics (two or more talent themes combining) into consideration. This is very important as any Coach should take that into consideration when coaching people in their talents. But you need to understand the challenges that the talent theme on its own might hold. Therefor the challenges in managing the talent as explained below might not be applicable to everyone, as the dynamics with some of their other talent themes might override the specific challenge and “make up for it”. But, knowledge of the most common management challenges in every talent theme still is crucial in talent development and when turning the talent into a strength. All information is my own, acquired by years of Strengths Coaching experience, and not verified or scientifically tested by Gallup. The definition at the beginning is the intellectual property of Gallup, and well researched.