Everyone has worked with a colleague that refuses to share information. Whether it is knowledge of how to fix something, or a specialized approach to completing a task. It is an unfortunate situation, but it happens in every workplace. Whether it is to create job security or for selfish reasons it doesn’t really matter, it just happens. Don’t be the person that is stingy with knowledge at work, it isn’t a great way to be and it paints a picture of someone who isn’t a team player. Those that withhold their knowledge and are unwilling to share can create problems across the team, and can really wreak havoc on a project. Here are a few reasons why you don’t want to be stingy with your knowledge at work.
It Creates a Divide
In most situations, projects are run by teams and not a single individual. Sure, there might be a project manager, but that PM is running a team of individuals that are working together to get the job done. Anytime there is one individual that is operating as an individual and not as a team member, it can create a divide. Questions begin to arise as to why that person is acting alone and why they refuse to share knowledge. A problem occurs when that individual withholds key information that could solve an issue at hand or help improve a process. Don’t be that person. Share information.
You Leave, it’s Lost
Those that desire to withhold information for their own purposes in effect become a single point of failure. How many times have you heard someone say, “I hope so and so doesn’t get hit by a bus”? Why? Because if they do, the project has lost a good amount of knowledge. No project wants a single point of failure. This is why we have SharePoint, OneNote, etc. Sharing information keeps the project alive for others to come in the future. Key project information like IP address lists, project planning steps, key personnel info, a log of known fixes and more needs to be preserved so that others can pull it up when faced with similar issues. Everyone on the team should keep notes and known issue logs for the good of the project.
When there are team members who decide not to share information, other team members suffer. There may be a time when there is an outage due to a specific product failure, such as email, or instant messaging. If the individual that knows how to fix the issue at hand isn’t present or can’t be reached, the team suffers. There will be times when that individual is on hand when the outage occurs and they come across as the hero or heroine because they knew how to fix it. While it is great that the outage is resolved, the rest of the team is kept in the dark. When you have individuals like this on your team, it is important to watch what they do and document the process of fixing the issue so you can have it. Be the person that shares the resolution and the steps to get there, don’t be stingy.
You Become the Bad Guy
It’s not great being the guy/gal that keeps all the info to themselves. It might seem great at first, and it might make you seem like the smartest person in the room, however it doesn’t last for long. Once your team gets to know you as such, you quickly become the bad guy/gal! It’s not good to be the bad guy; no one wants to work with you and you quickly become alienated from your team. Once your team alienates you, your management will get wind of it and you won’t last long. Don’t be the stingy person, share your knowledge for the good of everyone, it won’t only help your team, it will also make people want to work with you.
Moral: Be a Good Teammate
Everyone loves a good teammate! By constantly sharing your knowledge and teaching others, your management will take notice, your teammates will want to work with you and the project will be better as a whole. If you want to create real job security, work to lift others up and share what you know. No one wants to lose a great teammate that is willing to share their knowledge and make others better, so be that person.