The ever-increasing presence of knowledge workers (people who know more about what they are doing than their boss does) presents challenges to modern-day leaders that their counterparts in years gone by were not called to address. The main challenge is: "How do you help your team members achieve their goals when you, as a leader, are not an expert on the topic?"
One thing great leaders don't do is pretend to be an expert! This can lead to disaster in so many ways. Below is just one example:
When someone comes to you with an idea, and rather than say good idea, you say, "Why don't you add this?" or "Why don't you do that?" you take ownership of the idea. Your input makes it your idea and it is no longer their idea.
So, given you follow this suggestion and do not pretend to be an expert, how do you lead today's highly skilled professionals who so often know more about their jobs than you do? The simple answer is that it takes special skills — and not the ones that you may think.You have to look at leadership through the wants and needs of the worker as opposed to the skills of the leader. Here are six quick tips for effectively managing knowledge workers.