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Share your knowledge to help your team reach new heights
Being a great individual performer will get you far in most organizations. However, people that climb to the top of their organizations know that being a great individual performer is not enough. The highest levels of success are achieved by great teams, not single individuals. That means you must go beyond focusing on individual performance and invest in growing others on your team. Sharing what you know, your knowledge and expertise, is an effective way to grow others around you.
Commit to Continuous Self-learning
You can only pass on what you know if you’re knowledgeable yourself. Therefore, it’s important that you continually improve yourself. You must be disciplined to focus your energy on developing the specific expertise and skills needed to be successful in your functional role.
Functional expertise and skills are especially important to develop, but leadership skills must be paired with functional expertise to raise others to a higher level. Growing leadership skills, in addition to your functional skills, will enable you to transfer your functional knowledge more effectively, as well as equip you to grow future leaders in your organization. Creating future leaders in parallel to transferring functional expertise multiplies the impact and reach of your mentoring contributions.
Make the Complex Simple
Effectively growing others is heavily dependent on the way you transfer your knowledge. As an expert you will most likely develop an impressive set of industry and functional terminology. While it’s important that you know topics inside and out, including the right terminology, it’s more important to share what you know in plain English so others can more rapidly learn.
“Sharing in plain English” means using every day terminology to explain complex subjects. However, using the right “every day terminology” can be challenging if you’re not familiar with a person’s frame of reference. Cultural differences can be an added challenge for global teams.
Therefore, it’s important you learn about a person’s frame of reference and shape your messages accordingly. Choose words and references others will easily understand based on their familiarity. Idioms and colloquialisms can sometimes help you explain subjects in relatable terms, but can easily be misunderstood across geographies, so it’s important you only use them when the situation is right.
The more thoughtful you are delivering your message, the more effective you’ll be sharing your knowledge with others.
Maintain a Steady Drum Beat Over Time
Creating a team of experts will take time. While you’ll be driven to teach the team everything you know as quickly as you can, dumping mass amounts of information on your team at one time will result in a low level of understanding and retention of the knowledge delivered.
Therefore, you must coordinate the delivery of bite-sized chunks of knowledge across time to create the right cadence of sharing. Thoughtfully planning and delivering knowledge across time enables you to more precisely focus the team around specifically what they need to know, when they need to know it. Building on each instance in a thoughtful and planned progression will increase other’s ability to retain what you share. Dividing what you know into bite sized chunks also enables you to reflect often and assess what’s resonated and what areas need additional attention.
Sharing what you know with your team is an incredibly effective way to grow others. When done right, effective knowledge transfer benefits the individual, the team, and the organization. Team members will be better enabled to support you and each other, while the team as a whole will operate at a higher level. Committing to continuous self-learning, speaking in plain English to make the complex simple, and thoughtfully sharing knowledge over time, you’ll more effectively grow others on your team and climb to the top of your organization.
Ask Yourself These Questions
- What functional areas should I focus on improving?
- What resources do I leverage to grow my leadership skills?
- Am I consciously communicating in plain English?
- How should I divide the topic to create bite-sized pieces?
- What’s the right cadence to share the pieces?
About John Fildes
I grow the bottom line by connecting marketing to business strategy. By leveraging powerful positioning, content marketing, and client insights, I help CEOs drive qualitative and quantitative results at scale.
I've built an amazing network of incredibly talented people over the years. What I've appreciated most is those who have invested in me, mentored me, and helped me become the talented professional I am today. I pay it forward by doing the same for other high performing professionals and entrepreneurs.
All views are my own and not those of my current or prior employers.