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"Listen Up" to "Power Up" Your Professional Learning (113/365)

Do you make the most of every available learning minute?

Leaders are learners, first. However, managing the urgent and important priorities on our calendars often leave little time for the most important thing we can do as leaders: LEARN. Scheduling time to learn is vital to daily improvement. Unfortunately, many leaders overlook available time, for personalized professional learning that take leaders from "good to great".

The most underrated way to learn? Listening to podcasts.

If this is new for you, you'll likely have some questions about learning through listening:

  • Who do I listen to?

  • What do I listen for in a podcast?

  • When and where should I listen?

  • Why listen to podcasts?

Even the most focused and productive leaders can prioritize learning by listening. But first, you must have a game plan.

Here's what works for me:

Define "The Who"

Time is our most valuable commodity. So deciding who are the pod casters to subscribe and listen to regularly? Committing to one or several is key, but there's always room to change one's mind. It's far from a permanent decision. Don't shy away from mixing it up. For example, I currently hold 16 podcasts in my queue. I know what you're thinking: How do you keep up with that many options? (And no, listening to podcasts isn't my full-time job.) About one quarter are updated weekly. The others run more sporadic. Two are in my field of work. Four are related to my field, but are way outside my comfort zone. Two are just for fun. And roughly eight in my rotation are based in areas of interest for me: leadership and self-improvement. All contribute to my thoughtful reflection on life inside and outside of work. Together, the voices and ideas blend together, and help me grow as a leader.

Determine reasons to listen

I listen to different podcasts for different reasons.

Some, to fuel motivation to lead others. These are strategically scheduled at certain intervals of my week. Some, for when I'm in a flow state, open to new or different ideas that may influence thinking. Some, to inspire me to specifically share important work of educators. Something I never do: limit who I learn from, to become a better, for others.

Learning can happen anytime, anywhere...if we allow it

Depending on your lifestyle and routines, learning by listening to podcasts can happen lots of places. The research on multi-tasking isn't promising. But, a drive in the car, a daily workout, and household chores aren't the most mindful of activities. Combining these with a podcast, and making a routine of it, can quickly become a rewarding habit stack for the busiest of us "learning leaders" out there.

This may prove to be a perfect way to "level up" your leadership. When most others are mindlessly listening to Top 40 radio, or worse, talking, texting, or doom scrolling on their devices, choosing to learn something new is a generous act. You're choosing to help yourself, help others.

Listening up is powering up. When we power up our learning, we commit to lift others up.

Click here to visit the Learning Leadership 365 site, where you may read all posts I've written.


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