Many managers and leaders often fall under the impression that one of the most effective ways to enhance their worth and their career is by hoarding knowledge. “Knowledge is power” they believe and, therefore, the best way to accumulate power is by becoming indispensable, by knowing things that others don’t know and by sharing that information very judiciously.
Sadly, at the lower levels of the organization where the
manager is also the technical expert this strategy seems to work. Since the
manager knows things that others in the department do not, they control the
solutions to sticky problems and are rewarded for solving issues that their
team did not.
Of course, this is not a long term solution for success. The
higher one moves in the organization the less you are a technical expert. Hoarding
knowledge is no longer a source of power, but now saps your power and limits
your ability to find solutions and demonstrate your value to the organization.
None the less it is true. Knowledge is power. But, as you
move up the organization, the power comes not from hoarding that knowledge but
from sharing it as broadly as possible. In fact, the more you share information
the more powerful you become in an organization.
Experienced managers understand that their success is not
tied to how well they perform individually but to how well their team performs.
No longer are they praised for their personal and technical knowledge. Instead,
team results take the spotlight and they find themselves being measured for the
performance of their organization. And, the best way to ensure that their
organization performs up to expectations is to ensure that they have all of the
knowledge and information that they need to be successful.
This can be an enormous paradigm shift for someone who has
always viewed themselves as the technical expert and has been consistently
rewarded for their ability to solve problems. It requires an entirely different
mindset to acknowledge that others who are closer to the details may be better
able to determine complex solutions. But, acknowledging that you are no longer
the technical experts is one of the keys to moving yourself up the value chain
in the organization. Instead of your value coming from your detailed knowledge,
your value and your power now emanate from the performance of your team.
Managers who grasp this concept not only begin to share
their knowledge more readily and reward those around them who share knowledge,
but are also the managers who move up the ladder to higher levels of
responsibility. Understanding that the power of knowledge is expanded, rather
than weakened, through sharing is what separates those managers who top out
their career quickly from those who continue to grow and move up in the
Sharing knowledge has another benefit that is not commonly
recognized. The sharing of knowledge in your organization actually creates a
new level of employee engagement. But, I will write more about that next week.
I hope that you enjoyed this article. At ECI Learning
Systems LLC we are dedicated to improving productivity and profitability by
creating engaged organizations. Our unique combination of training and
personalized coaching, combined with our expertise in assessments allow us to
create a development plan tailored for your success.
Until next week,
ECI Learning Systems, LLC