Perfect My Practice: Learning and Behavioural Styles of Leaders

Perception is reality. Everyone’s perception is different. Thus everyone’s reality is different. What do we do when we’re in a team of ten at school working on a project about literacy and we’ve got ten different realities sitting around the desk?

I recently posted about the new professional learning course I’m attending this year entitled the Team Leadership Program being run through the NSW DET.

This week we looked at behavioural styles and learning styles. We looked at several models in which to better understand ourselves in terms of how we work in teams and learn new information. By understanding ourselves and who we are as people in our very nature as well as the way others learn and behave, we are better able to identify and then modify the way in which we interact with our colleagues and approach leadership situations with colleagues and when working in teams.

In terms of learning styles, we probably all studied Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and Bloom’s Taxonomy when we were at university. We’ve probably all in some way or another been applying these in the classroom for years. These relate much more to our classroom practice.

The idea of learning types, however, struck me as being quite different. It is much more intrinsic, genetic even. It seems to me that it reflects how you were made. Thanks Mum. Thanks Dad 🙂 I didn’t really know that we were defined in types. Broadly speaking of course.

There is a lot of research out there about this and there are a lot of different types of definitions of learning types. We looked in particular at David Kolb’s model. Kolb looked at the ways in which human’s take on experiences. He discussed the idea of an experiential learning process. However, before understanding that, it is important to know what kind of learner you are. From there you will be better able to understand the way in which you experience things and how you fit into the experiential learning cycle.

Before watching the following video, answer the following question in your head:

You’ve just brought home a do-it-yourself desk from IKEA. Do you:

a) Read the instructions because you’re afraid you’ll break the desk;

b) Read the instructions because you should always read instructions before putting something together;

c) Don’t read the instructions at all. Just see how things go. Trial and error.

d) It’s so awesome, but you’re bored of it before it’s even out of the box. You try a bit of trial and error but when that doesn’t work you leave it for awhile. Maybe you ask someone else to do it.

How you approached the desk question reflects your learning type. Depending on your type you like:

Diverger=exploring, using your imagination, understanding people, recognising problems, brainstorming.

Converger=decision-making, defining problems, deductive reasoning.

Accomodator= acting on things, leadership, risk taking.

Assimilator= creating models, defining problems, developing theories.

You can find more information on each type here.

Now for your behaviour style!

I found I was dominant in the “S” category but had touches of the “I” and “C” categories. It really helped me to define and clarify my behaviour in the classroom and with my colleagues and it certainly made me understand some of my colleagues a lot better.

Here is another good summary of the DISC model.

Do you think you work better with people who are similar in behaviour and learning style to you or do you prefer a diverse team of people to work with?

Why do you think teams should have a combination of types?

What are the advantage and disadvantages of both?

Image and Video Credits:

I’m Flexible, You’re Not, Will Lion, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Kolb Learning Styles by reyramit

DISC Model of Human Behavior – Quick Overview by Recovering Engineer