To Share Or Not To Share?

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Why many leaders miss opportunities because they struggle to share

During my career in corporate, I had many opportunities to observe and learn from formal and informal leaders who demonstrated a natural drive to share their own knowledge and passion. I used to believe they were like me, driven by peer recognition or career advancement ambitions, and failed to realize some of the other key motivational factors for sharing.

Sharing - according to Katy Caroan

To share or not to share – by Katy Caroan

After leaving corporate and establishing my own business, I have learned more about what it takes to build a tribe of followers as a leader. Sharing is a huge component in this, as many successful marketers and publishers use education-based marketing for sharing free content and building a relationship over time with their audiences and ideal customers.

One of the qualities I notice with Advancing Leaders in my new role as a mentor and consultant is their willingness to share, not only their own content, but also other professionals’ content with credit. This goes far beyond simply passing it on or re-tweeting what others write.

They are adding a personal view before sharing to engage in a conversation. In doing so, they also benefit from being associated with the content they share. The best of them are brave enough to add a personal touch to their own content, so it resonates with us. This creates a sense of the leader´s BIG WHY in business, enabling true leadership and increased following as effectively described by Simon Sinek and others.

What is stopping many professionals from doing this and enjoying the success of these Advancing Leaders? In my discussion with other professionals, I have noticed a number of mindset patterns that can be considered hindrances to sharing. Here are three of the most common:

The Trading Mentality

We have been assuming that we should expect Return on Sharing. In other words, I help you now, so you owe me later on. Whatever comes back in return is measured towards our perception of balance or imbalance of the sharing account. As a business owner, I often experience that peers expect me to share back simply because they shared something I did, without any relevance or context rationale.

Advancing Leaders share from the perspective of abundance and without expectations of Return on Sharing. To them, it is not about immediate return on their investment. Instead, it is about discovering and attracting opportunities without any checks or balances to individuals. Their sharing is driven by passion for their BIG WHY, and they are convinced that sharing creates ripple effects beyond control.

The Mentality of Confidential Information

We have been taught that we need to be careful and protect our knowledge and position on topics from external stakeholders, especially competitors. In failing to do so, we are at risk of exposing our business, loosing key employees and revealing sensitive strategies. In my previous corporate roles, I considered myself an overly discrete professional, being anxious of making mistakes according to policies. Instead of taking the stage externally, I kept a low profile and probably missed out on a number of great hires and potential business deals for my employers.

Advancing Leaders are equipping their employees and followers with resources to educate their external stakeholders and have a conversation online and offline to attract opportunities. By implementing an effective communication policy, including social media, and training their followers, Advancing Leaders create a safer environment for sharing.

The Perception of Disloyalty

We have been taught to separate our professional activities online from our personal updates and let PR or Communications control external sharing. Many professionals struggle with loyalty issues when sharing professional content outside of the official employer channels. There is a fear of loosing control and giving the wrong signals towards the employer, the customers, the competitors and others. “Better safe than sorry.” This causes many professionals to abandon the opportunity to engage in conversations that could lead to new business. As an example, when still in corporate, I kept a very discrete profile on LinkedIn. No photo, no summary beyond the historical merits and low to no engagement in groups. Did I attract any business opportunities? Of course not, it was impossible for anyone to understand what I wanted out of my LinkedIn presence.

Advancing Leaders inspire their followers to share and act as ambassadors externally. They are successful in combining online and offline communication channels, understanding the role they assume when sharing their own positions and content, acting professionally in a personal way across the platforms.


Which mindset patterns are stopping you from sharing more content and perspectives? When sharing from a professional perspective, what makes you delighted, proud, satisfied and inspiring to others without expecting something in return? Identifying this will help you hit the ground running on your Advancing Leader path.I would love to get your comments on this article below!


Virtual Leader Conference 2014: "Empowering the Advancing Leader in You"

Virtual Leader Conference 2014: “Empowering the Advancing Leader in You”

If you like this topic, you will love the Virtual Leader Conference coming up September 15-21, 2014 where more than 20 Advancing Leaders and experts are sharing their success strategies to empower other Advancing Leaders. You are welcome to join us on demand and free of charge via