The Power of “I Don’t Know”

Posted by David Grossman on Mon,Nov 28, 2016

For many of us, the words “I don’t know” are like kryptonite: a sign of weakness. 

TEAM-BUILDING.jpg

In reality, the ability to say “I don’t know” can be a hidden strength. Particularly during times of change, we need to be honest, straightforward and timely in sharing what we know—even when there are open issues and/or there’s much that’s still hasn’t been decided.

Download our free tip sheet with 10 more tips on how to guide change.

At the same time, our team members see right through attempts to deflect or dance around an issue. So what do you do when you don’t yet have the answer? Acknowledge it. Say, “I don’t know…but I will work to find out and let you know as soon as I have an answer.”

tweet-button-2015.pngOur team members see right through attempts to deflect or dance around an issue. #Leadership #Trust @thoughtpartner

This approach says two things to your team: 

  • You’re confident enough in your leadership to admit when you don’t have all the answers
  • You’re trustworthy and committed to your word to get back to them with an answer

The next time you’re stumped, take a deep breath. It’s ok not to know—as long as you come back later with an answer. In fact, your team will trust you more for your honesty. 

What’s getting in your way from saying, “I don’t know?”

—David Grossman

______________________________

10 Tips for Guiding Culture Change Tip Sheet

On just one page you'll get 10 tips to help set up your organization's culture change for success.

Tags: Communicating Change

    About leadercommunicator blog

    What does it take to be a leadercommunicator?

    The Grossman Group CEO and communications expert David Grossman shares his insights on the importance of meaningful leadership communication in today’s business climate. With high level tips on engagement and connection, insights into employee motivations and behavior, and firsthand stories from the frontlines of America’s leading companies.

    The leadercommunicator blog is instructive, entertaining, and a must-read for leaders, communicators, and leadercommunicators.

    Subscribe by Email

    leadercommunicator-blog-awards
    Going Slow to Go Fast eBook
    David Grossman - The Relationship Between Corporate Culture and Performance in the WSJ
    Podcast-for-communicators
    Take the Email-Free Vacation Pledge