"I don't know, but let's find out" must be a staple of every #leader's repertoire. #QuoteADay #Day256 #edchat #edu #NotKnowingIsGood
It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.”
Really, it is.
In fact, it’s better than okay to say, “I don’t know;” it’s a necessity.
As leaders, we need to be willing to admit that we don’t know everything, and since there is much we don’t know, we have to be comfortable saying to others that our realm of knowledge isn’t absolute, and there is much that we still have to figure out.
What’s key, however, is that we make sure that others know that we aren’t using “I don’t know” as an excuse, but rather as a real response. “I don’t know” can’t be said in isolation. There needs to be follow-up with something else, such as, “Let’s find out” or “Let me look into this for you,” or “Check it out and let me know what you discover.”
These follow-ups show others that we’re interested in what they’re asking, and what the response will be. Nothing discourages drive like an interpretation that someone doesn’t care about what you’re doing. By encouraging discovery, the best leaders allow for their knowledge base to grow while that of others is growing too.
No one will think less of a leader for not knowing the answer. But everyone will think less of a leader for not caring about the question.
Be comfortable using “I don’t know” as a jumping off point to future discovery, both for you and for those you serve.