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Take Control of Your Learning at Work

Pick the right organization

Be sure to have 'learning potential' as a key element when choosing a job.

Your learning potential is partly dependent on your own personality, but your propensity to learn will be strongly influenced by the type of job, career, and organization you pick.

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Take Control of Your Learning at Work

Take Control of Your Learning at Work

https://hbr.org/2018/07/take-control-of-your-learning-at-work

hbr.org

8

Key Ideas

Motivation to learn

We have an impressive ability to learn, but our motivation to do so tends to decrease with age:

  • As children, we are naturally curious and free to explore the world around us. 
  • As adults, we are much more interested in preserving what we have learned, to the point of resisting any information that challenges our views and opinions.

Knowledge and expertise

In this digital age, knowledge and expertise have been devalued.

What you know is now less relevant than what you can learn, and employers are less interested in hiring people with particular expertise than with the general ability to develop the right expertise in the future.

Access to information

When we can all retrieve the same information, the key differentiator is not access to data, but the ability to make use of it, the capacity to translate the available information into useful knowledge.

Pick the right organization

Be sure to have 'learning potential' as a key element when choosing a job.

Your learning potential is partly dependent on your own personality, but your propensity to learn will be strongly influenced by the type of job, career, and organization you pick.

To create a learning culture

... organizations must value psychological safety, diversity, openness to ideas, and reflection time, all of which can hinder short-term results.

Set aside time for learning

It's essential that you own your own learning process, managing your professional growth and development.

If you are waiting to be told what to learn, you are not being proactive about your learning.

Ignore your strengths

We can only develop new strengths by addressing our weaknesses, so if you want to acquire skills you don’t have, or develop new expertise, you will inevitably have to focus on what you don’t know rather than what you do know. 

Learn from others

From peers, colleagues, bosses, and especially mentors. Some of the biggest learning opportunities are organic or spontaneous.

However, this requires seeking the right feedback and being receptive to others’ suggestions, including criticism. 

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Understand Your Performance Evaluation

Find out if your performance evaluation is according to what you understand. Identify your goals and key performance indicators with your manager, and discuss accordingly.

Solve your Blind Spots

Ask for feedback, learn from it and adjust your performance (or behavior) according to the areas of improvement that you get to know from others.

Example: After giving a presentation, talk about what went well and ask if there is something that you could have done better.

Keep a Journal

Keeping a journal with a record of your learnings and feedback (areas of improvement) can keep us on the right path, and speed up our progress, and learning too.

Listing out 5 or 10 areas of improvement and tracking the progress in weekly or monthly reviews is a great way to develop your career.

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Learners are made, not born
Through the deliberate use of practice and dedicated strategies to improve our ability to learn. But many people mistakenly believe that the ability to learn is a matter of intelligence, an immutable ...
Effective learning=organizing your goals
Effective learning boils down to a type of project management. In order to develop an area of expertise, we first have to set achievable goals about what we want to learn. Then we have to develop strategies to help us reach those goals.
Thinking about thinking

Metacognition (thinking about thinking) is about being more inspective about how you know what you know. It's a matter of asking ourselves questions like: Do I really get this idea? Could I explain it to a friend? What are my goals? Do I need more background knowledge? Or do I need more practice?

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Curiosity leads us to generate alternatives
Curiosity leads us to generate alternatives

When our curiosity is triggered, we are less likely to fall prey to confirmation bias (looking for information that supports our beliefs rather than for evidence suggesting we are ...

Curiosity and innovation

Encouraging people to be curious generates workplace improvements.

When we are curious, we view tough situations more creatively. Studies have found that curiosity is associated with less defensive reactions to stress and less aggressive reactions to provocation.

Reduced group conflict

Curiosity encourages members of a group to put themselves in one another’s shoes and take an interest in one another’s ideas rather than focus only on their own perspective.

Thus, conflicts are less heated, and groups achieve better results.

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Albert Einstein

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. "

Albert Einstein
Curiosity declines with age

Children are extremely curious. They keep asking, "why?" and explore new things just because they want to know.

But research shows that during the schooling years, curiosity steadily declines, and as adults, we fall into fixed and convenient thought patterns.

The mechanics of curiosity

Research around curiosity found that children at age 5 scored 98% on a creativity test. When the same children took the test at age 10, only 30% scored well on the test. By age 15, only 12% of the same children did well. Less than 2% of adults are defined as creative based on their answer to this standardised test.

Science suggests this decrease in curiosity could be caused when we feel there's no gap between what we know and what we want to know, so we just stop being curious.

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"Creativity echo chamber"

When information keeps coming from the same place, teams may find themselves in a creativity echo chamber. 

Instead of generating fresh lines of thinking, people keep bouncing ...

Push the boundaries of debate

Constructive conflict can produce creative solutions. When teams engage in rigorous debate, they are often forced to examine underlying assumptions, challenge the status quo and evaluate competing views. 

The process of perspective-taking can yield new insights that jumpstart creativity and workflow.

Make it safe to disagree

Teams that operate with psychological safety consistently deliver creative breakthroughs and report high levels of interpersonal trust.

Psychological safety is that sense of confidence that their team will not embarrass, reject or punish them for speaking up

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Disengaged Employees

Engagement at work is a sign of employee motivation and resulting productivity. Unfortunately, only about 13% of people globally are engaged at work, and disengaged employees cost the economy $5...

What Not To Do
  • Do not make assumptions about a disengaged employee's performance. While statistically, such employees do underperform, there can be other reasons too.
  • Do not force an employee to be someone they are not. Everyone cannot be happy and optimistic all the time.
  • Do not get emotional, and stick to a transactional, formal, work-focused style. Do not expect to win their hearts or influence them by appealing to their emotions.
  • Do not assign employees tasks beyond their area of expertise.
Approaching Disengaged Employees
  • Use extrinsic motivating factors such as incentives and rewards to get productivity from a disengaged employee.
  • Understand what drives them, connect with them, gaining their trust and respect without being emotional, and focus on what they value.
  • Respect an employee's personal space and their need to distance their problems from their work.

Ultimately, it is what an employee delivers that matters most, and a manager has to focus on figuring out how to get the work done.

Mindsets in leaders

Mindsets drive what leaders do and why they do it. 

Two different leaders might face the same situation but respond to it very differently. One leader might see the case as threatenin...

Growth and Fixed Mindsets

A growth mindset is a belief that anyone can change their talents, abilities, and intelligence. Those with a growth mindset:

  • take on challenges
  • take advantage of feedback
  • use the most effective problem-solving strategies
  • provide developmental feedback
  • is persistent in accomplishing goals

Conversely, those with a fixed mindset believe that talents, abilities and intelligence can't be improved.

Learning and Performance Mindsets

Leaders with a learning mindset are motivated to increase their competence and master something new.

A performance mindset desires to gain favorable judgments about competence and avoid negative judgements.

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Humble Leaders

Research shows that humble leaders improve the performance of a company, creating more collaborative environments. They are balanced, appreciative and open to new ideas and feedback. They kn...

Charismatic Leaders

Charismatic professionals execute a certain magnetism and presence that automatically lead others to endorse them as leaders.

They have high levels of energy, unconventional behaviour and seem to be doing heroic deeds. We seem to be hardwired to seek and endorse over-glorified 'Superhero' like leaders.

Narcissist Leaders

Charismatic leaders can also be narcissists in some cases, having self-serving and grandiose intentions, taking advantage of their followers and abusing their power.

Even though they are generally perceived as arrogant, their bold vision and fearless attitude make them radiate an image of effective leaders, making them a high-risk, high-reward proposition.

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Pursuing Our Passion

According to a recent survey of U.S. workers, only 20% report being truly passionate about work.

Most youngsters place pursuing their passion as an important goal for their future jobs...

The Truth About Passion
  • Passion is not acquired but is developed.
  • It isn't a cakewalk.
  • Passion can also make us go wandering in the wrong direction, so we have to recognize its limits.
Don’t Wait to Find Your Passion

There is a journey one has to undergo, to develop the skills, confidence and network that will allow him to experience his true calling.

A person with a fixed mindset about his passion isn't likely to explore and dive deep with curiosity and inspiration.

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Emotions

They are basal responses that begin in the subcortical areas of the brain responsible for producing biochemical reactions to environmental stimuli that have a direct impact on our physical state.&n...

Feelings

Feelings are preceded by emotions and tend to be our reactions to them. Emotions are a more generalized experience across humans, but feelings are more subjective and influenced by our personal experiences and interpretations, thus they are harder to measure.

Negative Emotions

They can be defined as unpleasant or unhappy emotions evoked in individuals to express a negative effect towards something.

Although some are labeled negative, all emotions are normal to the human experience. And it’s important to understand when and why negative emotions might arise, and develop positive behaviors to address them.

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