People especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
This short definition of the Learner® talent theme from the Clifton Strengths® Assessment summarizes how those with Learner in their dominant strengths address the acquisition of knowledge.
Second in frequency in the Top 5 strengths of the population, Learner is surpassed only by Achiever. Perhaps the one fuels the other, with the process of learning contributing to the ability to get things done.
It also likely reflects the fact that life-long learning is part of professional success. A talent nurtured by the education system and further developed by the demands of a career would show higher in the overall population.
The theme shows up less frequently with the talent of Command, which allows one to take control of a situation and make decisions. Command ranks 33 out of 34 in appearance in the Top 5 strengths of the population (Self-Assurance is 34).
At its best, Learner is:
- Always learning
- Catches on quickly
- Interested in many things
- Finds life intriguing
A leader with “command” of the learner talent will be:
- Open to new ideas
- A “challenger” to colleagues to consider other options
- Expansive in their thinking
It is difficult to imagine a down-side to the Learner talent. When it is unmanaged it shows as:
- A “know-it-all”
- Learns a lot/produces little
- Lacks focus on results
The lack of focus on results would limit the development of a professional career. Partnering with others, or mobilizing a talent such as Achiever, Responsibility or Strategic would provide a bridge from the acquisition of knowledge to the application of knowledge and the generation of results. A virtuous cycle of progress is thus created through the productive application of talent. Learn, apply, evaluate, reapply and learn again.
Learner is likely a strong force on your team and in your company. Is it being productively applied? Do those with the talent have space to consider and then suggest alternatives? As a leader are you willing to learn from others around you or by taking calculated risks?
A simple assessment combined with an interactive workshop provides the opportunity to tap into the talent already present in your team.