Identifying Business Knowledge In The Workplace
igor kisselev/

Identifying Business Knowledge In The Workplace

You may have noticed the essential need for knowledge in the current workplace and, especially, among employees. Even though the need for knowledge is great, obtaining credible knowledge is often the challenge. Fortunately, many experts are available to share their insights and expertise. The big question? Is what they have to offer credible?

The experts we encounter (most of the time) are genuine, humble, and exceptionally knowledgeable individuals. Regretfully, there are also many having no clue what they're talking about, no clue what they're doing, or worse, they believe they know what they're doing when they really don't. These ones are particularly dangerous. Simply, you can categorize these experts as the 'blowhards.' the 'thought-leaders,' and the 'thought-provokers.'

The Blowhard

Unfortunately, 'blowhards' are the ones you'll encounter most often. You know the type. Without your consent, this person tells you everything they know about anything trying to come across as credible. They make you believe they know their stuff but they really don't. While they speak to some truth, it's often double-speak and fluff.

Blowhards insist on congregating at local events and conferences simply to only hear their own voices. And what's worse? At times, convincing blowhards fool conference organizers giving them the opportunity to be 'experts' at the front of the room. The good ones know how to work people so stay sharp and when you see one, challenge them. They try to avoid challenges. Scratch the surface, and you'll expose their truth.

The Thought-Leader

Next, on the list are 'thought-leaders.' What does this title mean exactly? Seriously, a person referring to themselves as a thought leader is more in love with their ego rather than sharing ideas. The thought-leader is a variation of the blowhard but, to their credit, possesses some substance.

Thought-leaders are often (subconsciously) unwilling to accept external perspectives or opinions, especially from those they don't respect or who aren't thought-leaders themselves. This may be a generalization, however, thought-leaders tend to tell you their opinions rather than learning a new perspective you have to offer.

Thought-leaders are usually exceptionally credible. But there are a couple of issues to note. First, they know their subject well but that's about it. Naturally, they are subject-experts but stray from the topic, and their insecurities begin to appear. Second, some get stuck in time. They don't typically maintain their knowledge over time attempting to convince people their expertise remains valid. Combine these points with their unwilling openness to various perspectives and the thought-leader title.

The Thought-Provoker

Finally is the 'thought-provoker,' a person you want on your side. As the title expresses, they provoke, or rather, stimulate thought and conversation. Even though they share similar knowledge traits as the thought-leader, they have a willingness to learn more than they already know. They seek out a variety of perspectives to build upon their existing knowledge. Their expertise is only the beginning of a journey to learn either what they don't know or further compliment existing knowledge.

Thought-provoking people are idea seekers. They want to know what they don't know. They are, however, also critical thinkers. This element takes many aback because they'll question what's presented to them. While some take this negatively, by no means is this the intent of the thought-provoker. They're simply doing their diligence to verify the information presented and to ensure they properly understand what is being told.

They are also in a collaborative mindset. They facilitate people in working together to develop knowledge synergy. Taking this solution-oriented approach leads to effective problem-solving rather problem-creation ultimately leading to generating numerous ideas and opportunities.

Many of you reading this have the privilege and responsibility to help people develop and apply knowledge. Simply, you're responsible for getting into people's minds. This means you must lead by example and be a learner yourself, not necessarily the subject-expert and knowledge authority.

Your role is to ensure people grow intellectually and, more importantly, helps them discover value from the knowledge they receive through the journey created for them. Never be the 'blowhard.' Always demonstrate substance and never shy from saying, 'I don't know but we'll discover the answer together.' Only be a thought-leader to master the topics people turn to you for but never dismiss them because you don't see value in what they have to offer. Everyone has something to offer and why you should strive to provoke thought and discussion.

Please, share your thoughts and feedback with us. We’d enjoy hearing about your efforts, and who knows? It may be the topic of our next eLearning Industry article. Also, please check out our LinkedIn Learning courses to learn more about developing your business credibility for your learning efforts. And please, share your thoughts. Remember, #alwaysbelearning!