The Sideline Blog

Just as sports players come to the sideline for rest and guidance, this blog is meant to provide you some insight and guidance as you explore your Strengths journey.

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are 
trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

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  • Chad T. Ahern

Talents & Burnout: Learner®

We recognize that communities throughout the United States are working hard to address longstanding, systemic racial inequality and injustice. Even as we join in the efforts to support such initiatives, we also believe continuing to share perspectives via this #talentswithoutburnout series can help people better understand one another as unique, talented individuals who should be celebrated and supported, regardless of their skin color or national origin.



"People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. They process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them."

​- Gallup CliftonStrengths® Themes Quick Reference Guide -


Burnout Concerns

As our world of work changes, those with Learner® talents will likely want to pursue any number of new threads of discovery. Their inquisitiveness, however, can also be there downfall. Consider the following ways those with these talents might be pushed toward burnout:

  • These individuals may love to learn, but usually it’s at their own pace. With the current flood of information and ongoing updates it can become emotionally exhausting to keep up with it all.

  • Many people with Learner® talents like the “steady and deliberate journey of learning.” There is nothing steady about our current environment.

  • They may also feel out of sync because what they were learning about (pre-COVID) is no longer (or less) applicable. By minimizing what they were in the process of learning, you could be endangering their level of employee engagement.

  • Those with Learner® talents on your team may be left scrambling for how to learn and process their learning with alongside other people given the significant drop-off in in-person learning events (e.g. conferences or professional association meetings). They may also feel emotionally exhausted trying to have deep, thoughtful learning conversations and discussion via virtual meetings or webinars.

Addressing Burnout

For most with Learner® talents, their learning often carries with a sense of purpose. They learn so they can make use of their learning. By tapping into this, in the following ways, you may be able to help them avoid burnout:

  • Help them understand what topics are essential to the future of the organization. By focusing their learning, you can help them begin to filter.

  • Set timelines & expectations. Help them figure out how quickly you need the most essential level of information. Remember, Learners are not looking to become absolute experts, they often want to know just enough to move forward.

  • Help them find virtual learning opportunities; ideally ones that can help solve or address current team or organizational challenges. Just be mindful that they will likely want to attend experiences where there are good opportunities to digest their learning alongside others.

As with coaching any individual, their combined set of talent themes will effect how their Learner® talents show up, and how to best manage them. As a beginning, next time you check-in with them, try asking one of these questions,


What are you most excited to learn about right now?

What are you learning about that could help our team?

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash


Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

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