Today I listened to two leaders on #5leadershipquestions, episode 72, discuss admitting, “I don’t know,” to anyone you lead. One said it was the most freeing thing he says each week. The other replied that it is only freeing to the leader who is secure in their identity and calling.
So here are some thoughts on when and how to say it, and when and how not to say it:
- As crazy as it might sound, practice saying it to yourself first before testing the waters with others.
- The first person(s) you say it to should be trustworthy.
- Say it when it’s honest; don’t say it when it’s revealing nonchalant laziness.
- Say it with genuine desire to pursue finding the knowledge; don’t say it with a suggestive “Sorry ’bout your luck” quip.
- Say it decisively, just like you would any other answer; don’t say it woefully.
- Say it to create trust; don’t say it to belittle yourself.
- Say it to test the freedom; don’t say it “just because.”
Have you worked through this already? Is this something that troubles you? Leave a comment with other suggestions or thoughts on these suggestions.
2 thoughts on “7 Suggestions on Admitting “I Don’t Know””
“I don’t know”. Saying those three words is not something I do well. Never thought of that phrase as “freeing”. Had always associated “not knowing” as a weakness, a perception of stupidity, lack of self-confidence. I plan to practice the suggestions given…..Who knows…maybe this old dog can learn a new trick or two.
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Thanks, Debi, for your honesty. After you’ve tried the suggestions, please return to share anything you learned.