Originally posted 18-Mar-21

How does the presence, or absence, of trust affect knowledge sharing and the effectiveness of a knowledge management program?

People may be afraid that if they share knowledge, people they don’t trust will misuse it or use it without attribution. Or that if they ask for help, they will be criticized as ignorant or unable to do their job. And they may think that their leaders don’t trust them, and thus might be afraid of being told to stop wasting their time.

Their concerns include:

  1. Can I trust the answers and advice provided by others?

These concerns may prevent them from asking for help in the open, from sharing information, or from spending time participating in communities and ESNs.

Leaders may be concerned about the following:

  1. Can I trust people to behave properly? I don’t want to enable flame wars, abuse, bullying, harassment, political or religious discussions, commerce for personal benefit, solicitation, or anything else that is inappropriate for our work environment.

Despite these concerns, leaders should trust people to do no harm. It doesn’t mean that people won’t do harm. They may do it intentionally or unintentionally, but if they do it in such a way that you can see it, then you can counsel them and intervene.

If you don’t trust people, why did you hire them? People are working for your organization. You hired them. You entrust them with the work that they’re doing. You should trust them to use good sense also when it comes to sharing information.

Leaders, you should:

  1. Trust people, unless they give you reason not to do so.

5 Ways to Build Trust

  1. Facilitate conversations between people. Make time in meetings and calls for people to get to know one another.

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/