While reading another article, which resulted in this post on one of my other blogs, I was reminded of a story from some years ago when I used to go for sales training at a local company.

One of the guys in the class was a salesman for his company, and he complained that he didn’t fully know his company’s product for him to be able to sell it better. When asked why, he said that the owner of the company restricted certain pieces of information from the sales staff because he felt it was proprietary and didn’t want it getting out to potential competitors.

The guy also said that he felt the owner of the company was also one of the best sales people he’d ever met, but when he asked the guy for advice the guy said that’s why he paid for his staff to go get sales training because he wanted to keep his own sales methods to himself.

It’s a strange type of paranoia when one decides to pay for training others when that person could be training them himself. It’s hard to imagine a company owner sabotaging his own business because of his worry that one day a sales person might leave and go to a similar business and thus impart knowledge onto someone else.

Can you imagine how it would work if every company and every other person in a leadership position did this sort of thing? How many front line people would there be who couldn’t assist customers in the store because the people in charge withheld information? What would happen if they hired someone who actually knew more than they did, which sometimes happens in technology companies? Would they try to claim that knowledge as proprietary when it clearly wasn’t?

Good leaders don’t worry about how much someone else knows. They encourage that people who report to them learn as much as possible. They understand that one day someone just might leave, and that their success somewhere else is a positive reflection on them, whether they end up being a competitor or not.

As we begin a new year, I hope you as a leader is ready to take a major step forward and train others to be as knowledgeable as they can be, maybe even become leaders later on in their careers. Wouldn’t that be a great tribute and legacy to you?
 

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