The Knowledge Hoarder

In the end, inability to create connection and relationship will eventually bankrupt even the greatest treasury of knowledge and wisdom…

Most of us have heard at one time or another the time-worn adage…“In the end, you can’t take it with you.”  It is one of those…truer words have never been spoken sayings…and yet, most often what we do in this life runs in direct opposition to those exact words.

We live in a world of more.  More houses.  More cars.  More clothes.  More stuff.  And when we run out of room…then we search out more and bigger places to store it all.  It is an endless consumption spinning wheel that we seldom, if ever, step off of…

And if it isn’t “more” we are after…then “new” is the next game in town.

The point is not to say that the rapid and ongoing consumption of more or new is negative…rather, the problem lies in how much we have that sits wasting away.  Stuff that we will probably never use again…which could be cycled back out in a way to help those who are truly needful in our world.

The issue is that we have a hard time letting go of that which we have worked so hard to obtain…even if we are not going to use it.

An excessive example of how out of control this can get can be seen on a reality television show, Hoarders.  A show about people who not only collect more and more stuff…but, who find themselves unable to part with any of it.  Till eventually it takes over their life and their living space…causing immense pain and grief in their life.  Their inability to let go…not only destroys their living space, but their relationships with family and friends.  Many of whom find themselves lonely and apart from those they love due to their hoarding.

Dismally, the same thing often happens to the very brightest and intelligent of leaders…

Many leaders work long and hard to gain more knowledge…more learning.  Constantly storing up all that they have learned.  Hoping it will make them a better leader…advance them in their career.

The problem is that, for some, the more they gain the tighter they hold on to those nuggets of knowledge.  The learning they gain…they keep stored away in their head.  Unwilling to part with it.  It turns them into knowledge hoarders.  They become scared to give to others what they have worked so hard to gain…fearing that it will lessen their advantage, their position.

Unfortunately, the knowledge hoarding gets in the way of the necessary connections and relationships so vital to being and becoming an effective leader.  The very knowledge that they have hoarded to help them become stronger and better…has actually become the very obstacle to that end goal.

As leaders, the advantage isn’t in the gaining…it is in the giving.  In the end, we can’t take it with us…rings very true.  When we hoard…we fail to create connections and build the relationships necessary for life and leadership.  And without those connections and relationships…we eventually bankrupt even the greatest wealth of wisdom and knowledge.

Great leaders invest in the betterment of others…great leaders gain in what they give.

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2 thoughts on “The Knowledge Hoarder

  1. Sensational post. I wonder if some don’t realize that sharing information is like planting seeds, the information serves to grow and be refined in countless directions, directions in school systems which serve to improve education. I’m always wondering why some don’t share or share very little with regard to information. Thanks for once again inspiring me.

  2. It underscores the need for a deep confidence on the leader’s part. I think a part of “hoarding” is in fact an act of hiding out – rather than wade into the sometimes troubled waters of disagreement and conflict, some leaders choose to deflect, ignore, or communicate from afar. Paradoxically, the more they seek out the dissenting (or silent) opinions and create a culture where honest discourse is the norm across all “levels,” the more they strengthen their position, not weaken it! Leaders must give the gift of open discourse (and knowledge sharing, as you discuss) to their organizations if they hope to see it thrive. Thank you!

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