Effective Knowledge Managers—Do You Recognize These Traits?

Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

May 30, 2018

During my career as a KM practitioner, I developed a profile of the most effective knowledge managers. It’s included in my upcoming book on promoting knowledge management initiatives within the corporate world.

Knowledge managers know how to use KM tools, how to ask others for help, who should be connected to whom, who would benefit from a piece of information, and how to persuade others to use information effectively. 

Knowledge managers also look for unmet knowledge-related needs, and try to develop ways to meet them using people, process, or technology. They fill the roles of KM leaders, project leaders, and knowledge assistants. Here is the profile I developed, which can be used for recruiting, writing position descriptions, or performance management.

Profile of an effective Knowledge Manager


  • Management: supervised people, led work teams, managed a business or functional unit
  • Project management: successfully managed projects to meet deadlines, provide deliverables, and adhere to budgets
  • Communications: published documents, gave presentations, and managed communications programs
  • 50 KM Components: for many of these, performed evaluations, led implementation projects, and used them regularly
  • Reputation: has earned the respect of people both inside and outside the organization based on accomplishments, networking, and communications


  • Leadership: able to influence others, lead work teams, and manage projects
  • Communications: excellent at writing, speaking, presenting, and using a variety of communications vehicles
  • Process and Technology: able to quickly learn and master a wide variety of tools and processes
  • 50 KM Components: expert at using many of these
  • Analysis: able to seek input, analyze information, consider alternatives, and make good decisions

KM leaders need to perform the following tasks:

  • Improve business results by institutionalizing a knowledge sharing culture. With the help of the senior executive and the other leaders in the organization, take steps to achieve a positive culture that rewards caring, sharing, and daring.
  • Define, maintain, and execute the KM implementation plan for the organization. This is the overall program plan for the KM initiative.
  • Define, communicate, and implement people, process, and technology components for sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, and learning. These are the core elements that enable the KM program.
  • Define KM measurements and rewards for the organization and KM goals for all relevant members. This aligns individual and organizational objectives.
  • Report regularly on the organization’s performance against KM metrics. This lets the leadership team know how the program is progressing.
  • Implement action plans for people, process, and technology projects. These are the detailed implementation plans for each project leader.
  • Lead the organization’s KM teams. These include the program staff, the core team, and the KM community.
  • Manage the organization’s KM communications. This keeps all users informed on the program.
  • Actively participate in communities. Model desired behaviors by being visible as a leader and a member of multiple internal and external communities.
  • Network with other KM Leaders. Demonstrate the use of social networks to stay current in the field of knowledge management.
Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

Lucidea has published my latest book, Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program, which includes additional information on powerful ways of obtaining leadership commitment, including storytelling, building a KM business case, and much more. I hope you will find the book relevant, insightful and timely.


Similar Posts

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This