How to Work with Each Type of Knowledge Workers

Posted March 9, 2020

There are many ways to define knowledge workers, and depending on the line of work you’re in, they can take on different roles. But, to put it in a nutshell, a knowledge worker is someone whose line of work requires one to “think for a living”. Now, this doesn’t mean that other types of workers aren’t thinking for a living, because most of us are thinking when we’re working (we hope!). People such as scientists, engineers, architects, lawyers, programmers, and any other types of white-collar workers can fall under the umbrella of knowledge workers. But, we can take this even further.

Three Main Knowledge Worker Groups

Now, we can break down knowledge workers into different groups, such as the creator, the communicator, and the coordinator — these types of workers possess specific characteristics. In a typical workplace, people have to work together. You’ve got to know how to get along with every kind of knowledge worker. And, knowing which category a worker falls into can give you a big head start to moving forward and creating a cohesive workplace. Know where each worker fits.

Try to see things through the eyes of each type of knowledge worker, and you’ll get a better understanding of how to work with each type. Here’s a quick overview of each style. Do these knowledge worker styles look familiar?

The Content Creators. Focus is a big thing for people that fall into this group. You’ll find workers like writers, designers, computer programmers, and others. These type of workers tend to do their best work when they’re not being bothered by someone. In fact, their most significant pain point is being interrupted. You might see these worker types wearing headphones so they can work and focus without interruptions. So, while these types of workers prefer a bit of alone time, it’s only temporary. These workers need time to get their thinking straight before they can start a communicating with the other types of workers. That said, the content creators are generally the most focused group in the bunch.

The Communicators. Ah yes, the communicators. This is the group that loves to problem-solve in real-time. In fact, these workers may even think out loud to hash things out. Communicators thrive in meetings, because, well, work can get done in real-time. What they don’t like is unresponsive contacts and not having to access vital info (they’d love it if someone already told them what’s up). Response time is significant for these groups, so if you’re working with a communicator, let them know what’s up, like, you got the message they sent. Don’t stall with these types, they want to see that you’re engaged with them. If you’re busy, merely telling the communicators that you’re able to chat with them later goes a long way.

The Coordinators. While the content creator is busy creating copy or fiddling with code and communicators are engaging in conversation, the coordinators are finding ways to keep everyone else organized. Coordinators are a valuable part of any team, and their typical roles might include executive admins, chiefs of staff, and product managers. Communicators love calendars. These type of workers may already know about the other workers because they’re spending a lot of time organizing and trying to find ways to get diverse teams to come together. This might be the person that sets up the team building activity! These types like to be organized. So, juggling a bunch of inquiries from too many people all at once can be a pain. One of the best ways to work with coordinators is to simply trust what they’re doing.

Is your organization ready to test this knowledge worker theory? AdVenture Games, Inc. has specific team-building activities that can sort out who’s who in the workplace.