It’s hard to learn things in group settings: Some group members are quicker studies than others; some are more willing to ask questions than others; some are more interested. And all too often what may be relevant to one person is wildly irrelevant to others (read: you).
Many teachers (and mentors, coaches, facilitators, trainers, speakers, bosses, and such) take a “Goldilocks” approach to their tutelage – eschewing “too fast” and “too slow” for teaching “just right.” But in doing so, they bore half of their group or class or audience or team by going “too slow,” and overwhelm the other half by going “too fast”. Not good.
Another popular (read: bad) approach they use might be called the “Golden Rule” approach to tutelage – “Here’s how I learn best,” they say, “so that’s how YOU’LL learn best.” Wrong. Again.
It’s undeniable that many teachers (and mentors, coaches, facilitators, trainers, bosses, and such) have found the balance. They’ve figured out how to be relevant and resonant to their audience, no matter how diverse. And to that I say, “BRAVO!”
But what if they’re not? What can we do, as meeting attendees and participants to help ourselves learn notwithstanding? How can we take greater responsibility TO learn, TO share, TO grow and TO make the most out of less-than ideal circumstances?
Here’s how to L.E.A.R.N., anyway:
- L – Look for opportunities to ask clarifying questions … and ask them and the follow-up questions that the answers engender.
- E – Encourage others to engage more deeply … and learn from their learning, sharing, and growth.
- A – Accept that learning is not linear … and recognize that frustration and unknowing are often precursors to wonderfully vibrant ‘developmental leaps’ if you just stay with it a little longer.
- R – Regularly share your salient realizations with others … and thereby help solidify whatever you ARE learning and quite possibly add to it.
- N – Never underestimate the power in your continued growth and development.
As John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” So if you want to be a better leader, go learn, share, and grow – no matter how difficult a task it may seem.