We’ve all heard it before: “Knowledge is power”. It’s the driving force behind all levels of education, from learning our ABCs as toddlers to the emphasis on continued learning and upskilling in the workplace. Learning is a natural part of who we are, and never accepting the limitations of our knowledge is the single most important factor in the success of humans as a species. However, this phrase is missing an essential component – action. It’s as passive as a textbook collecting dust on a shelf. Gathering knowledge is just one part of the equation: to achieve real power and influence through skills development training, this knowledge has to be put to work.
What is Power in the Workplace?
Firstly, it’s important to get a good idea of what power in the workplace really looks like. Sure, being able to hire and fire an employee is a form of power – and one that most often pops into our minds when we think of this concept – but it’s not the only one, nor even the most important. The reality is that every employee, whether they’re management or not, has considerable power in the workplace. Each supervisor, team leader, manager and team member has the potential power to influence decisions through effective communication, addressing conflict, helping other team members, and even directing the course of a company’s future. This power comes from not only learning about new skills and absorbing knowledge through training courses, but by also developing the ability to put those skills into practice and share them with others effectively.
Knowing isn’t Doing
As a professional, you’re constantly learning – whether it’s through attending training seminars and courses, on-the-job training, or simply through your own life experience. You aren’t the person you were when you first entered the working world, you aren’t even the person you were five years ago – and all that knowledge is wasted if it’s not being put into practice. Simply put, there’s a big difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. So, how do you harness the power of knowledge effectively and make it work for your benefit?
Face-to Face Training Puts Your Skills on the Line
Learning to put your new knowledge into action effectively is where one-on-one training with an experienced facilitator makes all the difference. Learning from a book or eLearning course is a passive experience, while having a facilitator who can work with you through this knowledge actively puts these skills into action. Instead of having dry theory locked up in your brain, you’re putting it into practice in real time, real world situations that allow you to practice your new skills and demonstrate their effectiveness. With someone knowledgeable to bounce ideas off of, to answer questions, and to recognise and work with your own individual strengths and weaknesses, knowledge stops being dry theory and becomes truly yours to own and work with. These exercises connect knowledge with your personal experience, making it easier to implement these skills when you need to put them into action in the workplace.
Tips for Putting Your Knowledge into Action
Keeping your knowledge active to exercise your power and influence in the workplace takes a continued commitment to putting the skills you learn into practice. Here are some tips to follow to ensure you’re putting your knowledge to work.
- Share it: Knowledge and skills are not something to be hoarded or kept secret. Sharing these skills, whether through a formal mentorship program or through informal means, doesn’t just introduce others to a useful topic or idea, it also helps you to reinforce and explore what you’ve learned.
- Practice: Making new knowledge part of your routine takes effort – but practicing it as part of your daily routine will make it effortless in time. Before holding a meeting, take the time to refresh yourself on what you’ve learned about effective communication. If you need to address a conflict, take the time to think about the skills you used to manage your own and other’s emotions when you worked with your facilitator.
- Keep learning: The more you invest in your new skills, the less likely you are to lose them. Approaching learning with an attitude of continual curiosity is a great way to not only keep on top of the skills you learned, but to keep building on this expertise and your own sense of self-confidence.
Own Your Knowledge – Exercise Your Power in the Workplace
Maurice Kerrigan Africa is a leading corporate training company in Randburg offering SETA-accredited courses and has been a first-choice training services provider for industry leaders for over 25 years. Our focus is on providing training and course material that provides meaningful results by enhancing soft skills in the areas of leadership and management, personal mastery and emotional intelligence, and business communication. Click here to look at Maurice Kerrigan Africa’s public course training schedule.