Listening leads to personal development

Written by Barry Johnson on 17 December 2018

Reading time: 2m 30s.

The latest buzz is that L&D has a new lease of life in companies that are looking to the future. I've read this across several articles from universities in the USA to apprentice training in the UK. So, what are some of the insights and is your organisation one of them or are you a tail-end Charly?

What sort of things are those that are moving forward saying? Have you listened to them?

From an L&D unit: "We have engaged our top leaders in learning environments to aligned learners with our business and growth strategy. The leaders were rejuvenated and renewed the vigour of our L&D professionals involved. We all grew. We found a new purpose that made our efforts worthwhile and infused us and the leaders with energy."

As learning and development professionals, we invest more time worrying about the learning of others than our own capacity-building. But sometimes when we invest in ourselves, there is a large payoff. A Human Resources Director took a course in Modern Organisation Development.

Sometimes the best way to make a journey is not to go alone.

The concentrated OD coursework gave her current knowledge and expert approaches that really helped her offer value in a developing learners capacity. Development of others is one of our L&D duties. The OD work added to her professional toolkit in a significant way.

Listening is one of the most powerful sources of renewal. To revitalise ourselves, we must find a way to listen more directly to the needs of our constituents, such as employees, leaders, our board of directors or customers.

When we ask new questions, we are on the verge of discovery. Now ask three questions that would expand your knowledge or your thinking. Listening includes email, phone calls, texting, formal meetings, etc.


You will hear things you were not aware of before, be refreshed through listening, and in these conversations, you will find common threads that provide new avenues for your thinking and your ability to aid others.

Tanya says, ‘When I go out and meet with groups in the community to talk about personal development and career development, it renews and refreshes me. Meeting people who are engaged in continued personal growth is inspiring. Their questions always challenge me and encourage me, even as I try to challenge and encourage them.

What I give to the community through public speaking, I receive back tenfold.”

Professional renewal, like hiking, can work well with a buddy. Sometimes the best way to make a journey is not to go alone. Whether our revitalisation and renewal lead toward a new role, or growth, we may need sounding boards and professional guides with whom to process the experience.

Seeking the help of a wise mentor, a partner, a champion or a sponsor will help make this period of intentional growth more reflective and more productive.

Are you listening? 


About the author

Barry Johnson BA, CMCIPD, MCMI, is a non-executive director at Learning Partners Ltd.


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