Knowledge Is Power
The negotiations were tense, on the line were salaries and benefits of twenty employees. The union negotiations were not going as planned. The union workers were asking for raises for the junior employees and access to the same benefits that the rest of the company’s 300,000 employees were entitled to. The company was in fierce argument mode not giving up from their perspective. Then everything changed…
After the second week of negotiations, the company began conceding and giving more and more to the union workers. A critical raise for the newest employees, as much as $6 an hour over their current wages was the largest concession. Just when everything was looking up for the union employees, they thought nothing could go wrong.
The contract was signed and everyone went to work looking forward to the future. One week later, the knowledge the company had became the powerful checkmate. The company knew that the entire unit was being eliminated at the end of the year, it was cheaper for them to simply pay the difference and finish the year than continue to negotiate.
A Leader’s Knowledge
Several of you may have heard that knowledge is power before. Far to many insecure people hold on to knowledge to leverage power. The thought that if you know everything you are needed. Let me tell you first hand, this does not work in an effective workforce and it is impossible in a trusting relationship as a leader.
When you become a leader, you give up the right to be self serving. Leadership is about serving others, that also means giving up information to empower your team. Here’s a secret, if you hold onto information, people will talk and sometimes the false information can cause more harm than just sharing the info in the first place.
I’ve made the same mistakes. When I took my first “leadership” position, I thought I had to know everything, perform perfectly, and hold tight to the knowledge bestowed upon me. What I found out was that I knew little, was far from perfect, and only looked like a fool thinking I was entitled to the information and no one else was.
A leader’s primary job is serving his or her team. One of the finest ways to serve as a leader is to prepare the next generation of leaders. That will be the true test of your abilities as a leader. Share the knowledge you have learned. Be a coach, a mentor, a teacher, just transfer knowledge, skills, and abilities. I promise you, the more you share with others, the more they will need you.
When you commit to a sharing environment, many people do get nervous that they will get replaced. Sure, that is a possibility, but you could also be freed up to do the things that only you can do and delegate other tasks to someone who can benefit you. I too am guilty of this. For years I would volunteer for everything in an effort to absorb all of the information and abilities. What I did was burn myself out and failed to do everything well.
Knowledge Builds Trust
When your team is use to working for a limited knowledge “leader” they will appreciate it when you come to them with knowledge. This is a great way to show that you trust them so that a relationship built on trust can reciprocate. People want to feel trusted and giving them knowledge is a great way to win them over.
By sharing your knowledge with your team, you are building a stronger chain. Since all chains are only as strong as the weakest link, you can see how this strengthens your abilities. Your team will not fully trust you if they do not believe you have the knowledge to do the job. You cannot be arrogant in this transfer of knowledge. I repeat, YOU CANNOT BE ARROGANT IN THIS TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE.
Smartest In The Room
You are not always the smartest in the room. Remember that. What I’ve found is that “leaders” who think they are the smartest in the room have either built a bad team or are ignorant about the resources available to them. Trusting that you are only one part of the chain and the rest of the chain is capable of supporting you will take you much farther.
Think back to a situation where your boss thought he or she was the smartest person in the room, yet everyone in the room knew that was far from the truth. Those are the people who seem to be so insecure that they will sabotage anything that they fear is a threat. Don’t be that person, be a leader.
What Will You Do This Week?
Question: How will you share knowledge with your team this week to foster an environment built on trust? You can leave a comment by clicking here.