What Do Most L&D Professionals Have in Common?

What makes learning and development professionals stand out?

Published on 6 February, 2017

What makes learning and development professionals stand out? And why is it that they always seem to know how to thrive and inspire others in a demanding work environment?

The thing is, most of L&D professionals’ skills or habits aren’t taught in any university or online learning course. These traits are acquired through years of experience and garnered from both their successes and their failures.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common characteristics and workstyles we see across the globe and in multiple industries with successful people in the L&D field.

Excellent Communicators

To survive in any industry, you have to understand that communication is king. But leaders in particular have to know how to communicate within teams — with everyone from interns to new employees and an organisation’s oldest talents. L&D professionals have to know not only how to communicate, but how to get their message across effectively while listening to, acknowledging, and incorporating the suggestions and ideas of others. They understand that communicating clearly will enable the entire workforce to fulfil expectations.

Creativity on Multiple Levels

Every day, with every client, you’re solving problems and thinking up new solutions. L&D professionals need a creative mind, the ability to think outside the box, and knowledge of what will work with what they’ve got. A movement now known as design thinking is based on this creative concept. Design thinking, like learning and development, is a human-centered process. L&D professionals are usually the type who see things from a point of view that others wouldn’t have easily caught on to.

Empathy with Mind and Heart

The L&D professional is truly passionate about helping others. It’s what he or she lives for, knowing they have found a way to work to develop others. They also feel the desire to share and help others improve their work modes — to be the best professional they can be. Empathy makes them stand out, because not that many people have it in them to see beyond the four corners of their own world. You could say an L&D professional is a more selfless person.

Hunger for Learning

Learning for the L&D professional never ends; it’s what drives them daily. Perhaps it’s because static situations bore them. L&D professionals were likely the kids in school who were always inventing new things, whether it was new pranks or new science fair projects. They loved learning and loved sharing their passion for learning, just like they do today. Where there’s an opportunity to learn, that’s where L&D professionals will show up.

L&D Professionals Promote Feedback

L&D professionals understand that in order to improve and grow both as an individual and as a team, feedback is vital. They have not just the willingness to listen to others, but also the ability to change their very nature, if necessary. L&D professionals constantly source feedback; in fact, they embrace and encourage it, promoting a culture of listening and communicating openly in the workspace. They know that adaptability is the way to get the best results.

Bigger Risk-Takers

L&D professionals know from experience that taking risks is sometimes the only way to find out what works and what doesn’t. They have learned to accept the fact that failure may happen as a result — but it’s a risk they’re willing to take. When a risk may affect an important business project or operation, however, they know how to communicate the potential outcome with their team. They lay all the cards on the table honestly so that everyone involved is aware of the risk and no one is caught off guard.

L&D Professionals Have a Hunger for Learning

L&D Professionals Facilitate Structured Learning

Constantly keeping up with educational trends, digital transformation, and learning resources, L&D professionals understand how vital it is for everyone on the team to continue learning about new advances in their field. They support others’ desires to learn and grow, making provision for organisational learning to happen within an office or professional engagement. This means that they are ready to hire coaches and invest in mentoring, workshops, and seminars. L&D professionals will go to great lengths to develop their own people, because they want to see the company grow as a whole. They understand that growth always starts with individuals.

Great Time Management Skills

Successful L&D professionals analyse the smallest details to ensure success for the greater picture. This means that they are attuned to the most minute aspects of organisation and have a good handle on time management. L&D professionals know how and when to prioritise tasks. They have developed their own system for getting into a creative zone, and, once there, L&D professionals can produce amazing things.

Do you know an L&D professional who fits the bill with the traits described above? What do you think of these personality profiles?

Perhaps you have noticed other traits that are common in the professional world or even individuals who take it to the next level. Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below; we’d love to get your feedback.

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Are you an L&D professional? Does this fall in line with your personality and work skills? Discover how personality assessments can be integrated into your learning and development environment.

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