How to Lead People Who Know More Than You Do!

By Marshall Goldsmith, Alan Mulally & Sam Shriver / Training Industry Magazine Fall 2016

Peter Drucker presented a very simple definition: “Knowledge Workers are people who know more about what they are doing than their boss does.” Fundamentally, the ever-increasing presence of the Knowledge Worker threatens to render our traditional assumptions about top-down leadership obsolete. It also presents challenges to modern-day leaders that their counterparts in years gone by were not called to address: “How do you help your team members achieve their goals when you – as a leader– are not an expert on the topic?” To illustrate these challenges, we will examine how one CEO, Alan Mulally, gained well-deserved notoriety for creatively leveraging the skills of his team, the people of the Ford Motor Company and the Situational Leadership® Model to lead an incredibly successful turnaround. This example demonstrates how “The Leader as Facilitator” has a Historically, “leadership” has largely been considered a top-down function. Leaders were masters of their crafts that doled out their knowledge over time to eager apprentices aspiring to gain wisdom. Enter the “Knowledge Worker.”

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