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How to Handle the Knowledge Wardens

Have you ever needed timely, critical information but been unable to get it because the person with that information was unavailable or unwilling to provide it? Frustrating? You bet. That’s because you’re dealing with a knowledge warden.

Knowledge wardens exhibit a classic passive-aggressive type of behavior. You’ve heard the saying “Knowledge is power.” Knowledge wardens have embraced that saying wholeheartedly. They desire both power and control as a means to gain acknowledgment of their status or position. In their minds, if they have control and hold power, then others will have to acknowledge them as having great worth.

Knowledge wardens fail to provide information at their disposal when requested to do so. This failure typifies their passive-aggressive behavior. To deal with knowledge wardens effectively, you first have to be able to recognize them. Three descriptive characteristics of knowledge wardens are listed here.

1. They hoard or withhold information

Knowledge wardens may try to hoard crucial information because they feel powerless. Either their position in the company or their own insecurities have left them believing they have little or no control. Hoarding information is their way to gain and show some semblance of power.

They like to control important data or materials necessary for others to function effectively and want to be seen as in control. In a knowledge warden’s mind, if he or she is the only person holding key information, then he or she is the person in control in the workplace. Knowledge wardens crave respect and daily affirmation of their importance. The irony is, even if they get what they desire, they’ll never believe they’re truly worthy.