It’s Okay To Say “I Don’t Know.” You can’t know the answers to everything, that’s why there are people called experts. No one wants a B.S. answer, so admitting when you don’t know something can be much more valuable. This process can be much easier said than done. In an article from Forbes, Gaurav Gupta states that we’ve been conditioned to constantly provide quick, confident solutions as a sign of competence and leadership. We behave in a way that any gaps in our knowledge are seen as weakness.
This explains why it can be so difficult for us to admit when we don’t know something. But there are a couple simple ways to navigate this concept, including utilizing the aforementioned experts. A few words can also give you the time to look into the information needed to progress.
The Delegation Strategy
We want to be able to handle everything ourselves to get the job done right. But looking at effective leaders, the use of delegation is much more valuable to the success of a business. Effective business leaders delegate to experts to handle tasks within their mastery, thus ensuring more quality and efficiency in completing projects. You can find more information on delegation in my previous article, “Your Daily To Do List”. This is also why hiring strategies are important to the growth and efficiency of your business. Hire the people who carry a skill set that you lack so each of you can focus on the work within your field of expertise.
Give Yourself Time to Find the Answers
We believe there is value in having the answers instantaneously. It takes a whole lot of courage to be able to say “I don’t know,” which is why there’s one very simple solution to changing this mindset. Complete the sentence with, “I will find out and get back to you,” to give you time to find the answers while also maintaining a professional level of respect and work ethic.
The expert with a wide extension of knowledge, a.k.a the internet, is the often perfect place to find your answers and get back to your partners or colleagues in a timely manner. Any form of research will ultimately get you the answers you need to provide, the internet is one of the more efficient means, but depending on the problem, you may have to reach out to other resources, such as colleagues in other departments, sources in specific facilities, or experts in a different field. The important part is staying true to your word and getting back to the people who need answers.
It’s just not possible to know everything. Pretending like you have all the answers can be harmful to your business. Being able to admit when you don’t know something is difficult but ultimately pushes you to better solutions. Whether you find experts to work it out, or do the research to get your own answers, being honest with yourself and your business is a much more effective route when it comes to growth and success.
It’s very important to remember that it’s not about the information you have, but how you use it to strengthen your progress. Utilize your knowledge, or that of experts, to make well-informed decisions and strategies for your business and push toward your goals. With that you can find the power in saying, “I don’t know.”
You can find additional articles from Michael Roub at Inflection 360.
Michael Roub is an experienced strategic consultant and Managing Partner of Inflection 360. Michael advises businesses and healthcare practices on a wide range of strategic initiatives.
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