How to get the best out of your learners

by Brett Henebery18 May 2017
An office full of productive workers can sometimes be taken for granted as a machine of turning cogs rather than a room full of untapped human brilliance and potential.

As such, identifying the individual strengths of employees can be paramount to doubling – or even tripling – the productivity of an organisation.

Sarah Rodgers, principal at Iolite Consulting, is a coach, trainer and facilitator with an extensive background in organisation capability development, cultural transformation and corporate leadership.

Tapping into learners' innate strengths is best done in one of two ways, says Rodgers.

“The first by observing the confidence and performance of an individual; they are much likely to seem more comfortable and quickly move through tasks which allow them to utilise their strengths,” she told L&D Professional.

“Secondly, this can be done by getting to know your team, both individually and collectively.”

Rodgers added that this can only be done by investing the time to understand their background, and asking them what they consider their strengths to be.

“Of course, some people are more self-aware than others, so I think it's important to combine what you are told with what you observe,” she explained.

“It's useful to remember that people may behave differently in a team environment; as an example, there's usually a natural leader; someone who 'takes charge'. Some people are more confident in team-based situations, and others less so.”

According to Rodgers, the most important aspect of leadership in this context is to be open and to make any assessment about someone's capability or strengths by weighing up all the available evidence.

“One of the beautiful aspects of being open, humane and approaching people with a coaching mindset is that sometimes they develop a belief in their abilities that they didn't previously have,” Rodgers said.

“This allows them to succeed in ways they never thought possible.”

Rodgers pointed out that another key trait for leaders is having the patience to support someone whilst they learn, and the willingness to give people a second chance.

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