‘Knowledge is power’ or so they say, especially Sir Francis Bacon.
But – I would counter, that it’s what you do with that knowledge that measures your power or influence.

Wisdom is considered a sign of weakness by the powerful because a wise man can lead without power but only a powerful man can lead without wisdom.

You gain more influence by sharing knowledge than what you ever can by holding on to it. Leaders must hold to these 2 skills: knowing where and how to find knowledge that you do not have, which is second only, is discovering what it is you do not know.

In days of old, kingdoms were built by kings and governments that held on to what they had, gathering and drawing wisdom and wealth to themselves. But in around the time of Solomon, one of the greatest currencies in the world was knowledge.

Imagine that man who first invented fire, and all that was possible by it. While his individual power was very immense in the moment  he alone held that knowledge, all of society was enpowered when he distributed what he knew. His influence was very great, and became greater.

Consider how the world has changed. Influence and power increases or decreases dramatically in accordance with what you do with the knowledge you have.

Great leaders will share their accumulated knowledge and build the communal knowledge pool for the benefit of customers, workers, company and the world at large, whilst Intellectual Property continues to be a defining edge in commercial practice. While the internet makes information accessible at greater speed that ever before, the accuracy and frequency of that data now matters more than ever. The most valuable thing? Knowing what to do with the vast amounts of data now available. The fastest growing skill demand in the digital age.

You’ll know many of Google’s mainstay products are available in some free form service to the masses, and the fastest growing fields of technology are in the use of mediums that allow us to share knowledge with each other. Open source technology pushes faster and better communication sharing as we build platforms that not only push and pull information but respond and adapt with the information they receive.

Google’s success comes in understanding what knowledge is most powerful, influential and important and knowing what we do, do not and want to know. Then packaging it in consumable forms so we can use it within limits. But that’s another story.

Think about mentors – the best mentors are those that share knowledge and experience with others for the benefit of the broader community. So too with leaders.

If you want to lead with influence – share the knowledge that you have about your processes, your strategies – give away and you will gain respect and manna from those who want to learn from you, beside you and those who can influence your own knowledge pool. You’ll learn more in what it takes to share what little you may have, than you’d ever gather on your own.

These posts were originally broadcast in a radio series, in 2009. If you are interested in talking more about leadership or you’d like me to speak with your team about maximizing their leadership skills – just get in touch.