Motivate and lead knowledge workers

The ideas, experiences, interpretations and judgments of knowledge workers keep companies, businesses and society on their toes. They invent new products, develop new strategies, negotiate and help companies stay ahead of their competitors.

Knowledge workers:

A knowledge worker is someone who is employed based on their knowledge of a subject rather than their ability to do manual work. They perform at their best when given the opportunity to make the most of their in-depth skills. Knowledge workers have a high level of expertise, training or experience and the main purpose of their work is to create, distribute or apply knowledge. Knowledge workers are important to a company because their skills can have both immediate and future effects as they work towards the company’s goals.

“Knowledge workers believe that they are paid to be effective, not to work from 9 to 5, and that smart companies will” remove anything that gets in the way of their knowledge workers. ” Those who are successful will attract the best performers and “secure the single greatest factor in competitive advantage” – Peter Drucker

Technology for knowledge workers:

Knowledge workers need to use technology to keep track of everything they need to know. As a manager, make sure your knowledge workers have access to appropriate technology. This can be something as simple as providing internet access or providing a special tool like SPSS software for a statistician. It is not enough just to make the technology available; training employees in how to use the technology is also one of the tasks of a manager.

Motivate the passion of others:

The passion to go way beyond the extra mile drives people to create amazing products and services. Management practices should consider or support knowledge work and help employees express their own passion. Create opportunities for knowledge workers so they can develop themselves.

A balanced leadership:

Traditional managers do not exercise leadership at all, only positional power. Knowledge workers do not want anyone to closely monitor and control their work. Instead, they likely prefer managers who pave the way for them to be productive. Effective leadership as a manager requires a delicate balance between sensitivity and authority, between the whole and the parts, between loose and tight leadership style, between functional expertise.

Edit the peer network:

As a manager, you need to actively work on the peer network of your knowledge workers. For example, if you have a difficult employee to manage, don’t try to do it alone. It can be effective to rephrase the problem from a boss-employee situation to a workgroup problem. Involve your colleagues, because letting them down often has a much faster and stronger effect on the employee than letting down the boss.

Recognize knowledge workers:

Recognizing knowledge workers means involving them in the dialogue, involving them in strategic decisions, showing them that they are responsible for their own actions and the development of the organization. Recognition is appreciation and reward; it is an affirmation that others are important, valuable, and interesting.


Recognize the different needs and motivations of knowledge workers. This will make it a lot easier to find creative and effective ways to keep your productivity high. The motivation techniques for all knowledge workers are not the same, and as a manager you need to find out what motivates them individually and what each individual needs in order to be more creative. Some knowledge workers want recognition, others may want monetary or social recognition.

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