You do not make decisions overnight, which others need to appreciate about you. The problem, however, is that sometimes a decision is needed and the time to rationalize is not available. At times like that, you may have to go with your gut or trust what your intuitive colleagues or family members are telling you. Be open and flexible.
Because you do not like imposing responsibility upon others, this can cause issues when confrontation is a necessity. Sometimes people will get in your face; other times you will need to get in theirs. Regardless, both situations are uncomfortable for someone with a KWR gift. Do not make the issue personal. Make it about resolution so that everybody benefits.
A KWR can be such a genius in certain areas, acknowledged and celebrated, that they feel being highly competent in other areas is optional. A typical example is the KWR that is celebrated for intellectual acumen at work, yet that same person’s family is in disarray because he or she cannot maintain key intimate relationships with a spouse or children. This is a serious sign of to be weary of. In other extreme cases, the KWR can call into sociopathic patterns. Because of this, we typically say that the KWR is the one MDNA that either wins big or loses big—very little is in between.
This struggle falls under the category of selective responsibility. It is uncertain why the KWR seems to struggle in these areas. However, it is a common pattern we have encountered when working alongside individuals with this MDNA. One theory is that the Legitimacy Gap associated with this gift, explained later in this section, is the primary factor behind this pattern of behavior.
Analysis Paralysis happens when indecisiveness sets in because there is too much information. This does not happen just to the KWR personally. Sometimes the KWR presents such an abundance of information and options, that others get overwhelmed as well. The entire group can then become demotivated.
This scale was created to rapidly and clearly illustrate the spectrum of extremes of an individual’s intrinsic motivations as a KWR. This scale can then be used for coaching or consulting.
Integrating character, competence, chemistry and calling to advance culture and community.
Inspiring others to take responsibility even if they do not necessarily want to.
Recognizing your personal calling and choosing to express it within all personal and professional facets. Seeks fulfillment over comfort by intentionally developing character and competencies.
Helping others recognize their own calling pursuing the necessary character to attain it.
Embracing organizational culture and social responsibility. Voluntarily contributing even little things to build social capital within the professional community.
No more and no less than what is necessary.
Responsible in some areas ignoring others. Will not look “beyond the cubicle.”
Refusing to take ownership of challenges. Thinking it is always somebody else’s fault and their issue to fix.
Acting only when forced to or when threatened with consequences or termination. Cannot be trusted without explicit micromanagement.
Habitually destroying social capital by taking absolutely no responsibility, regardless of consequences.
Not only violating corporate governance and legal policies, but spreading a value system that encourages others to do the same.
The following statement represents the root thought of the Legitimacy Gap in a KWR. Believing this thought and acting on it leads to shortchanging the purpose, passions and potential of your MDNA.
‘‘I only have value and worth when I have all information and am right. Knowledge is my power.’’
One cannot always know the end before starting a process—especially the process of taking responsibility. If you only feel legitimate by having all information in control and upfront, then you may lose important opportunities to take responsibility for your leadership. This includes having to be right all the time.
The KWR can also fall for the Legitimacy Gap by using information as a source of power. Misusing power shows up in two ways. One, you may be tempted to withhold information so that your position of value becomes entrenched. A common example of this is the manager or colleague that subtly—or not so subtly—refuses to train others in fear of risking job security. Two, which is a more extreme example, is an individual who, regardless of rank or position, uses information to control and manipulate.
Another form of Legitimacy Gap for the KWR can come from the pursuit of unhealthy knowledge. It is not uncommon for KWRs to be obsessed with conspiracy theories or information that promotes disruptive, even criminal, activities. This is not a pronouncement of judgment upon curiosity or subjects of personal interest. But in a professional work environment or social circles, not all knowledge is meant to be integrated. For the sake of responsibility, the KWR must be discerning.
The simplest and most highly recommended method to develop your Intrinsic Motivational Design is to find legitimacy, your personal sense of self-worth, outside of your status and performance. Or to stop being motivated the thought pattern that has formed your Legitimacy Gap. Remember, you are a human being and not a human doing.
Ask yourself this question: “If my professional status and ability to perform were abruptly stripped from me, how would I account for my self-worth?”
Most will be able to reference family or personal endeavors as the reason for feelings of self-worth. But if you did not have a solid answer to the question, you may need to make a serious investment of time to figure it out.
Next, you need to evaluate your priorities.
Ask yourself this: “Outside of my professional status and performance, is my personal character truly reflective of where I know it shouldbe?”
And this is where we must ultimately arrive before true development can begin. We must become honest about our character outside of work. Are you the same person within every social circle or does your character change, depending upon the people you hang with? If your professional accolades did not count, would the people around you still celebrate your character?
It may sound counterintuitive to approach this as a professional by starting with life outside of work, but again, this is the launch point to get where we all desire to be. Here is a very simple four-step process to address the Legitimacy Gap for the KWR.
Become aware of where you are feeling insecure professionally. What are your fears? Where is the anxiety? Write down whatever comes to mind. Do not judge what you write. Simply explore what may be there.
Do you always have to be ‘‘in the know?’’ Even outside your areas of responsibilities?
Do you find the temptation to provide information selectively? Do you or your inner circle withhold information for the purpose of control?
Do you pursue information as nothing more than a credential for professional security? There is productive knowledge, and knowledge that is gained „just so you know it.‰ This knowledge can be in fact dangerous to your productivity and leadership. An example of this is when employees pursue conspiracy theories or operational secrets about the company and management.
Do co-workers find you arrogant, unteachable and overtly traditional?
Do you find yourself avoiding the truth about yourself and others because of how it may negatively impact your professional status and relationships?
Daily, recognize upon how others in your professional circle have come to you with knowledge and wisdom that has been liberating instead of controlling. Celebrate these people and instances.
At the same time, consider the times that professional circumstances have presented you with a package of responsibilities that you did not necessarily enjoy dealing with. Celebrate that although sometimes uncomfortable and stretching, those situations provided you with increased wisdom that you enjoy to this day.
Be open to new problems you encounter in your everyday professional routine. Embrace them for the new knowledge and wisdom they represent. It is said that problems are the best opportunity to learn new things. However, we often fail to see the benefits. Most do all they can to live in their own problem-free and pain-free bubble.
When faced with difficult problems, many default by responding with, ‘‘This is impossible to solve.’’ We are never presented with impossible problems. It is just that usually the solutions are not visible until you really wrap your arms around the core issue. Getting real close and personal to a problem will always give you the authority and faculties to solve it. Are you solving problems today that seemed impossible ten years ago? Of course you are. That is why you need to adopt a lifestyle as someone who takes responsibility for problems regardless of whether the solution is evident. Try it.
Ultimately, choose to be a learner rather than learned. Embrace new truths, especially in the areas of relationships and responsibilities, knowing you are legitimate even when you are wrong or do not know.
Find an individual, preferably a mentor, or a group, to stay accountable to during this process. Ask yourself three questions and share your plans:
Spend some regular time every week considering the following about being a KWR.
You are meant to harness your design by solving challenges through knowledge management, taking responsibility for the growth of others. Society as a whole, especially in our knowledge economy, needs more individuals who take greater social responsibility. This is your path—to channel your knowledge and wisdom to take responsibility where others may be avoiding it. Although your mind may be sharp as a scalpel and filled with the power of knowledge, there is a trap that you must avoid—the trap of selective responsibility.
Selective responsibility feeds the root of legalism. Legalism is what occurs when being right, or judging others by standards of knowledge only, become more important than true relationship. This may sound strange, but knowledge without responsibility in life can lead to destructive hypocrisy. Knowledge is power—but power without proper responsibility can be extremely dangerous. What good is it to know everything yet do nothing to make it beneficial to others? A common trap is to become legalistic. Legalism is all about knowledge without loving relationships to support it.
Knowledge has the power to become life-giving wisdom or widen the chasm of self-absorption and gratification. It is your responsibility to always choose Life and give your gift to those around you.
NEXT UP: KWR and the other gifts >>