The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Working with knowledge workers

According to Peter Drucker, the definition of a knowledge worker is that he must know more about his job than his boss does.

It’s a definition that requires a boss to develop humility around his need to be informed as well as to acknowledge the normality of not knowing. It also means that trust plays an important role in such a relationship.

The boss needs to trust that his subordinate will come to the best conclusions based on his knowledge. And the subordinate needs to be able to trust that his boss will listen to him. It’s not to say that the boss will do as the subordinate wants him to do! It’s the reason why both need to develop the ability to engage in a meaningful dialogue about the needs the organization has and the possibilities they see to fulfill them.

For a boss, this also means to consider how the hierarchical relationship between himself, and his subordinate may impact the necessary partnership in their dialogues. The same is true for the subordinate knowledge worker. To serve the organization he needs to notice when he finds himself challenged while seeking to share his knowledge honestly.

For him, the work is to develop his ability to share his knowledge and educate others on its meaning for the organization. He too has to develop humility around his needs to be valued and stay in control of his contribution.





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