Welcome back! How did sharing a personal story with your team or employee go in the last challenge? From experience, employees appreciate the human elements that come with integrating stories into communications about the business. It makes executives human and relatable. Because, employees want to know who you are before they will listen to what you have to say.
And now onto the 4th and last Challenge in the first leg of your journey—Knowing Yourself—to become a Courageous Communicator. This Challenge focuses on the hidden strength behind the ability to say “I don’t know.” Effective leaders need to be honest, straightforward and timely in sharing what you know—even when there are open issues and/or there’s much that still hasn’t been decided.
Challenge 4: Stay True to Yourself Under Pressure (Integrity)
Great leaders always know the answer.
Here’s a refreshing truth about the most effective leaders: They are completely comfortable saying “I don’t know.” Yes, they know it’s important to be on top of things, and they don’t feel the pressure to answer every question on the spot or make things up to fill an information void. While creating an answer in the moment might seem the best way to show you’re in charge, it’s far more likely to undermine employee perceptions of your integrity in the long run.
For many of us, the words “I don’t know” are like kryptonite: a sign of weakness. In reality, the ability to say “I don’t know” is a strength. If you don’t have an answer, don’t make one up.
The Courageous Communicator Challenge
It’s time to get comfortable with three small words: “I don’t know.” This week, every time you don’t know an answer, own it. And keep in mind, this isn’t the end of the conversation. Anytime you say “I don’t know,” follow up with answers when you have them, or give context for why you don’t have an answer yet. This approach says to your team that you’re confident enough in your leadership to admit when you don’t have all the answers, you share what you know when you know it, and that you’re trustworthy and committed to your word to get back to them when you do.
What gets in the way of you saying “I don’t know” today?
If you are just joining us in our Courageous Communicator Quest Challenge, take a moment to start from the beginning here.
Refer back to previous challenges here:
Understanding how others think is critical to influencing them and getting results. This ebook lists the top 10 things that a CEO cares about and provides a self-reflection point for each: