There are two kinds of personalities in the workplace when it comes to sharing knowledge: doors and windows.

Doors do not share what they know. These are people who don’t collaborate unless they absolutely have to, and even then, they can be difficult to work with. They keep knowledge to themselves, and they rarely offer to help other people. Sometimes this is unintentional. A door may be too busy and doesn’t make time to share. Or maybe doors want to focus only on their work and aren’t interested in volunteering for anything that’s outside of their normal responsibilities.

But some doors are intentional. They protect their knowledge and experience, believing they have an advantage if no one else knows what they know. They like the control. They relish feeling needed.

Windows, on the other hand, do not hold back knowledge. If these people can answer your question, they will. If they’re able to help you with a challenge, they raise their hand. They enjoy teaching what they know, and they appreciate when you share what you know, too. Windows know that it doesn’t matter if everyone knows what they know. What matters is doing the best work they’re capable of.

Being a window has its perks:

  • They get noticed because they’re willing to talk and work with anyone.
  • They become dependable resources.
  • They are known as experts, not because they know everything, but because they teach and share what they know.
  • They are offered new opportunities, because they are open to things outside their norm.

Knowledge that’s locked away doesn’t benefit anyone, so be a window instead of a door.