Professional Development can be seen as a stool. You would be hard pressed to find anyone against the notion of Learning and Development (L&D) as legs one and two. Both are critical for employee engagement and career progression. However, L&D shouldn’t be the end of the process. The third leg is Teaching. Employees should strive to cap off their L&D by teaching what they know to others.
Teaching ideas and topics abound. Each of the following are not only opportunities to learn and develop. They are also excellent sources for insights/skills that can be taught to others.
- Attended an industry conference?
- Taken a training course?
- Read an interesting non-fiction book?
- Listened to profound podcast?
- Come across a relevant article?
- Gained insights from a mentor?
- Generated a new idea/concept?
Here are 6 benefits of a Learning, Development & Teaching approach:
According to psychologists and learning experts, teaching solidifies learning. Also known as the protégé effect. Teaching something helps you learn something much better than just learning it for yourself.
Employees who teach are able to feel a deeper sense of engagement. This is due in large part to the Mastery aspect of Daniel Pink’s theory of workplace motivation. Engagement also grows due to the feeling of contribution made to colleagues.
Read also: Engaging Employees With Mastery
Still don’t think you have a skill/insight to share, huh? How about taking a look at your resume for a list of suggestions. Teaching is a great way to highlight your professional expertise. You soon become known as the “go-to” person for your chosen topic.
One of the most difficult things to do in an organization is being recognized. A great side effect of teaching is that it makes you easier to recognize. Simply by standing up, others will recognize you especially as an internal thought leader and creative problem solver. The only two skills A.I. won’t replace any time soon.
When employees teach other employees, knowledge is able to spread throughout an organization. This can do wonders to connect informational and departmental siloes. Knowledge transfer connects people via shared ideas and insights.
Ideas are rather promiscuous. They want nothing more than to have sex with other ideas. When employees teach others what they know, their ideas are able to have relations with other ideas. This mating process is often how innovation is conceived.
Employees that seek to gain the most out of learning and development must become teachers. There are as many ways to source teaching topics as there are benefits for teaching. Start by sharing your ideas and insights with lunch buddies. Share concepts in team meetings. Write internal blog posts. Organize a panel discussion where you participate as an expert. Progress to leading a lunch-n-learn. However you decide to do, consider making teaching the third leg of your professional development stool.