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Knower vs. Learner

A strange topic you may think and yet so relevant to developing as an individual and as a leader.

We know what sets successful individuals apart from the rest is their approach to learning. In a world that is constantly evolving, being a "Knower" or a "Learner" can make a world of difference in your personal and professional growth. So, let's have a look at the debate of Knower vs. Learner and explore how you can cultivate even more of a Learner mindset.

The Knower mindset refers to individuals who believe they possess a “fixed amount” of knowledge and skills and assume that the same is true for everyone else. They tend to rely on what they already know, without actively challenging their existing beliefs or seeking new information. Knowers may feel comfortable in their knowledge bubble but miss out on growth opportunities and therefore limit their potential.

Interacting with a Knower can be difficult – they “pretend” to know everything (remember: in their minds they do), and with that comes a lack of curiousity to understand other views. They see their own views and opinions as objective truth and fact.

A Knower mindset served individuals quite well in the old days of management – typical management behaviours of a Knower are that they tell rather than ask, they give step by step instructions, they direct and micromanage. Clearly, with a Knower mindset you reduce engagement and ultimately retention.

The Learner mindset is all about adopting a curious and open attitude towards acquiring knowledge. Learners understand that there is always more to discover, and they can constantly improve their abilities. Leaders with a Learner mindset embrace a natural coaching approach in their leadership – they ask rather than tell, they help guide their team to discover, they simply provide a compass for the team to find their path.

You can tell that you are interacting with a Learner from their vocabulary; they will typically not use conversation stoppers like “everybody knows that …” or “It is obvious that …”. Instead you will hear “tell me more …”, “could you explain it differently”, “what”, “when”, etc.

The Learner’s self-worth is not linked to “being right” – it is linked to learning, hence they will openly express doubts and are eager to understand others’ views. They take disagreements not as personal attacks – they see them as discussion points and learning opportunities.

My assumption (never assume :-) I know) is that most of you are learners, else you would not be reading my blog posts. So, here are some tips you can give to others who could benefit from them:

- Embrace Curiosity: Curiosity is the driving force behind continuous learning. Cultivate a genuine interest in the world around you, ask questions, and explore new topics.

- Own your Mistakes: Mistakes are an integral part of the learning process. Rather than fearing failure, see it as a stepping stone to growth.

- Seek out Continuous Learning: Learning shouldn't be limited to formal education. Lifelong learning means seeking out new experiences, reading, attending seminars, and exploring online courses.

- Welcome Challenges: Challenges provide valuable learning opportunities. Instead of shying away from difficulties, view them as chances to expand your knowledge and skills. Approach challenges with a positive attitude and a belief in your ability to overcome them.

Most of all remember: You win or you learn – you can never loose

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If you find this inspiring and you would like to explore further how we could work together, I am delighted to meet with you for a 30-minute-free-of-charge-info-session


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