“I don’t know” – three words that some people and more specifically leaders, at different times find difficult to utter. I thought of some benefits of saying “I Don’t Know” (in no particular order):
- Gives Opportunity to Engage Team: When you “open the floor” to your team, it facilitates the team owning solutions. People tend to thrive in environments where they contribute significantly toward solutions. Your team will to rise to the level of the responsibilities you give them. Engaging the team means tapping into a bigger pool of ideas and creativity, some of which may even be better than yours as a leader. Your moments of ignorance or ‘limited knowledge or skill’ can be opportunities for growth for not only you as a leader but your team, use them wisely!
- Communicates Security of A Leader: This may mean “eating humble pie” for you in some cases. But! Admitting ignorance or limitations tells your team you are comfortable in being you and in your leadership and that the door is open for them to bring ideas. It makes you more approachable as a leader. Saying, “I don’t know” may also give your team more confidence to speak up when they see loopholes or flaws in ideas or plans you present them in future. Thus facilitating “idea-proofing”.
- Saves Time: The sooner you admit your ignorance and limitations the more likely you are to reach a solution quicker. Get your team going early and avoid avoidable emergencies. Save time and say the ‘three magic words’ sooner rather than later!
- Expressing, “I don’t know” tells your team the areas in which you need more support in as a leader and team player. Help your team stop guessing how to serve the bigger picture by being a support where you fall short.
What other benefits of ‘saying’, “I don’t know” can you think of?