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How do you feel when you hit the situation when you have to say those dreaded words... "I Don't Know"? and why are they dreaded words in the first place, what makes it hard for some to say "I Don't Know" while others seem to manage it quite well?Don't get me wrong if you are saying "I don't know" every day while doing your job and it's about things that really you should know to be able to do the job then maybe there is a bigger problem, but that's not the "I don't know" that I'm talking about.
I'm sure that you know people who, no matter the subject, appears to be an expert. They know it, been there, done that, probably bought the T-shirt and you don't need to explain it to them. Perhaps they do know it or perhaps, for them, there is an insecurity about having to admit to having a limitation in their field of knowledge. Instead of saying "I Don't Know" and opening themselves up for an opportunity to learn and grow, they shut themselves down and lose the chance. This know everything approach is something that seems to be ever more common and it makes me wonder, is there a sudden rise in the level of knowledge around us, possibly, or is there a rise in the belief that if you appear to not know the answer perhaps you are somehow less than perfect or less than ideal, a sign of weakness perhaps? If it is the latter, and I think that in large part it is, what's driving this?
The reality is if you want to be a great leader, if you want to grow as a person and just generally be kind to yourself, admitting "I Don't Know' is the best thing you can do. Being able to say I Don't know, isn't weak, it's quite the opposite, it shows a huge strength of character and confidence.
It also shows a little vulnerability, and that's a good thing. The science is in, when it comes to building strong cohesive, supporting teams who are willing to challenge each other, hold each other to account without fear then having some vulnerability is a good thing, being able to create a safe environment where anyone can say "I Don't Know" not only builds the team it builds the knowledge, by you as a leader being able to demonstrate it's ok to have a gap and that you are willing to learn then others see this as the way it should be.
Being able to say I Don't Know truly is the beginning of Wisdom.
So, this week I want to challenge you to be open to saying those words to your colleagues, your friends, your family, when they ask you a question that you truly don't 100% know the answer too, try it, say "I Don't Know" the results may surprise you.
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