I have been a fan of neuro scientist Professor Susan Greenfield for some time.  I enjoyed listening to her talking fluently this month about learning.  Using electrical imagery of the brain Prof. Greenfield has written extensively about the importance of human interaction on our ability to really learn ‘effectively’.

BrainProf. Greenfield was talking with concern about the web aware young generation learning to ‘interact’ with people over the Internet and how this misses teaching the essential human interaction life skills.  She called this lack of face to face interaction ‘2D learning’.  Citing many examples of how people interact over the Internet is very different to how people interact face to face.

Learning the life critical skills of human interaction and particularly how we affect other people around us she called ‘3D learning’.  3D learning emphasises the importance of learning from the interaction and impact on others through understanding for example: body language, eye movements, tone of voice and eye contact.  More commonly called ‘Emotional Intelligence’ Prof. Greenfield talked about the value of learning with people and how practicing this affects our ability to continually develop our communication, influencing, listening skills and ‘success’ in life with other people.

I reflected on this insight in relation to my own experiences of 25 years developing my own and other people’s leadership skills.  One of the many advantages of developing leaders via coaching in the workplace is the opportunity for real workplace observations, for example; team meetings, 1:1 reviews, Board meetings or a planning meeting.  These shared experiences with the coach in the role of ‘observer’ provide the opportunity to experience and record the human interactions in the room; eye contact, body language, tone of voices etc.  These shared experiences provide real data which is then reviewed providing opportunity to learn and depending upon the outcome repeat the successes or adapt in the future.  Take a look at an example with Richard Anderson by clicking on this link.  This is real 3D learning and 3D leadership development in action.

Real leadership learning opportunities can be created in well set up and well run training programmes.  Learning with other people provides real life experiences in the ‘here and now’ moment with instant feedback and instant learning opportunities.  Our ability to constantly develop our communication skills, influencing skills and listening skills are critical leadership traits.  This is what Prof. Greenfield called ‘3D learning and rehearsing to improve’.  Take a look at an example at St Wilfrids by clicking on this link.

We are all in leadership situations most of the day, almost every day of our lives.  How are you and your team developing and learning your 3D leadership craft?  Click on this link to see a selection of our clients talking about their 3D leadership development.