The exchange of knowledge and information is a vital part of healthy relationships. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about professional, romantic or familiar relationships. Sharing knowledge for the sole purpose of spreading it, without necessarily wanting anything in return, is naturally a mutually beneficial happening. It’s why so many companies are focusing on the transfer of knowledge within teams and when bringing somebody new on board. However, humans aren’t always the most naturally open and giving of creatures.
When you share your knowledge, wisdom and information, you’re helping to increase transparency in your own life and in the lives of those around you. Some people are natural teachers, others natural students, and still others are happy to leave the classroom behind no matter what their role. It’s important to make sharing your knowledge a priority, but when it doesn’t come easy it can be a challenge. Here’s how to optimize your own spreading of the “wealth.”
Ask if someone wants your opinion
Simply asking, “Do you want my advice/feedback/opinion?” is a great gateway to transferring knowledge. It’s surprising how many people are quick to dole out their feedback when the other party isn’t receptive. Asking shows respect for the other person as well as humility. Most people will say yes, and you’re suddenly sharing instead of lecturing. How you approach knowledge transfer can set the stage for the entire interaction.
You should also keep in mind that just because you’re sharing your knowledge doesn’t mean the person is actually receptive of it (even if they say they are), that everything is “sinking in” or that any obvious changes will occur because of it. Give and receive information freely, but always bear in mind that it’s “just” information; it’s not a promise that anyone will digest it or put it to use. However, you’ve done your part and should feel some buoyancy knowing you’ve offered your insight.
Why it matters in business
A seemingly great means of job security is to ensure that you, and only you, can do your job. However, it’s not benefitting the business, your colleagues or successor, and in the end it’s not really benefitting you. Thinking you have that much responsibility is a huge burden, and what happens if you fall ill? You’re willingly putting the fate of at least part of an entire business on your shoulders when you should be part of a bigger picture.
Knowledge transfer and sharing in business is integral in moving the company forward. There needs to be transparency between departments and documented procedures (your knowledge) so that if disaster strikes, anyone can take over your role assuming they’re already well matched for the position. Just like in your personal life, sharing knowledge sets a foundation for success.