If you have climbed to the top of the leadership ladder, you are able to throw others down a line to join you. So, share your hard-earned knowledge with your peers and younger generations entering the workforce to encourage innovative thinking and growth. Try these three tips to effectively transfer your knowledge.

You wouldn’t be a leader if you didn’t have a few stories about the bumps and bruises you’ve accumulated along the way. These stories are not just about your career path. They can become stepping stones to help you engage, inspire, and maybe even entertain the next generation of CEOs and entrepreneurs.

Too often, leaders forget to pass on what they know. Or they do it sparingly as if their thought leadership is something to be handed out sparingly. The result is that they miss great opportunities to leverage their unique experiences in ways that help their brands and the stakeholders around them.

Imagine two company founders. One puts up a wall when it comes to their knowledge and rarely shares their ideas with a few high-level peers. The other willingly recommends best practices and openly discusses their most embarrassing flops with all employees. Which leader do you think would engender team loyalty and build a culture of trust?

Of course, it’s not about you talking about yourself constantly. It’s up to you to set aside time to find ways to use your formal and informal education. Great leaders are not afraid that the dissemination of their expertise will weaken their positions. They know it’s key to helping young workers accelerate their learning curve and bring new and innovative thinking to the business.

Knowledge Sharing: Hidden Benefits for CEOs

I have long believed that knowledge sharing is essential. What I didn’t suspect at first was how beneficial this could be for my organization and for me.

For example, every year I meet with science and engineering students from my alma mater, North Carolina A&T. I’m passionate about teaching young minds what I know, and learning a lot in the process. It’s a two-way street. I tell them what I know, and they tell me what they know, including what they see for the future.

It’s incredibly exciting to bring their enthusiasm and vision back to my team. It gives me a better understanding of how to engage young workers and tap into their natural energy. It allows me to become a more confident and comfortable CEO in a wide variety of situations.

Do you want to effectively transmit your knowledge? Try these three suggestions. They have worked well for my organization and me.

  1. Start a mentorship program.
    The good news is that mentoring is probably happening in your business in one way or another. Still, you need to formalize the process with a comprehensive, company-backed mentorship program to get the most out of it.

    Taking a programmatic approach to mentorship ensures it is a consistent occurrence year after year. A good way to start is to find the knowledge and skill gaps in your business. In other words, what could your employees benefit from learning? After identifying these gaps, you can start pairing junior employees with more experienced employees as mentors.

    Over time, you will begin to fill in your gaps. You’ll also foster stronger connections within your company, regardless of your organization chart. Don’t forget to consider mentorship as part of your succession planning as well.

  2. Contact your alma mater.
    Educational institutions tend to host guest speakers who are successful alumni. To get the most out of your knowledge sharing, get in touch with former professors or department administrators. Explain that you would like to speak with their students and perhaps mentor them.

    Students – including those in their final years of college – often don’t know what they want to do career-wise. I have found that they enjoy hearing about my journey, my missteps along the way, and my journey to leadership. As I also graduated from their engineering school, they can trust my ideas and experiences.

    As a side benefit, you might find interns from your presentations or one-on-one discussions. Although this shouldn’t be your goal, it can be great for bringing creativity to your organization. Also use social media to stay in touch with students who want to continue the discussion beyond the classroom.

  3. Write a book.
    Don’t get overwhelmed by this strategy. Writing a book is not as difficult as you might imagine and can allow you to leave a documented legacy. I became a published author. The key for me was to treat the experience as a planned project rather than something that would just “happen” on inspiration.

    First, write down all the information about the topic you want to share. If you’re dealing with writer’s block, ask questions you often hear about your role or the main idea you want to write about. Then answer these questions. Be as expansive with your responses as you wish. You won’t use everything, but that’s okay. Having more information is better than not enough.

    Next, work out the structure of your book. You might want to partner with another person or an agency to help flesh it all out. Use your best judgement. The goal is to bring your thoughts to life so you can share them in the most effective way possible: in writing.

Being a leader makes you humble, especially when you take the time to reflect on all you’ve done in the midst of distractions, slowdowns, and competition. If you have climbed to the top, you are able to throw others a line to join you. It’s a remarkable position to hold – and you don’t want to take it for granted.

Written by Vince Dawkins.
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