Career Advice: Hoarding vs Helping

Are you hoarding information or are you helping the organization?

One subject I felt I really wanted to share on the subject of career advice is information hoarding. In my career I have seen all types of people with so many different personalities. One personality type that I have never worked well with is information hoarders. There are some people who feel their value is in what they know and that they experience is what makes them so critical to the success of the organization. That is partly true, but it is not the best way for a person to see their value to an organization. I personally think that this attitude is very selfish and does not benefit the organization.  It is a way of protecting one’s self.

As a team player, one must be willing to share their knowledge.  Having smart employees with years of experience means nothing if they are not willing to share with others for the purpose of success. I used to work with a man who was very experienced with *Nix systems.  He was a very sharp system admin, but as with many older Unix admins, he was quick to tell people to read the manual and stop asking people questions.  While I understand the need for people to learn to search information for themselves, it is often necessary to help out the team and not get frustrated every time people ask questions. This admin was very clear with our leadership that he was extremely smart and they needed him to accomplish their goals. One day he was asked to follow some policies that he didn’t agree with, and he chose to tell our commander that he was not going to comply because he didn’t have to.  That was his last day with our organization. We worked in a network operations squadron for the Air Force and our jobs supported networks that are critical to airmen on a daily basis.  What he did was overestimate hs value. Let me say again that being smart is not what makes you valuable.  Sharing with a team and being open to communication are the key to building value in yourself.

Have you known people like this in your workplace?  Do you agree that information sharing is critical to success of a team? I think that preparing yourself to be a team player and to share information and experiences will put anyone on the right track to become successful in their career.  Do not fear that people will learn from you and take your job.  Do not get caught in the trap of thinking hoarding will give you job security.  There are so many ways to be valuable and contribute.  I look forward to hearing what our community has to say on this issue and to hear any relevant examples of information hoarding they have seen in the workplace.

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