Executives throughout time have feared those three little words. How many of us can say we have used it? Why are we afraid? Is it our hubris?
As CEOs, COOs, and CIOs we are aware of the need to earn and maintain the respect of our staff. The fear of admitting that we do not know has the potential to cause significant issues for our staff and us. Issues such as:
- We might guess at an answer that is wrong, with a result that your staff believes is right. This can lead to your staff taking subsequent wrong actions based on your wrong decision.
- We equivocate, and your staff recognizes it. This can lead to your credibility diminishing.
So how do we correctly say to our staff that we do not know?
- Recognize the fact that it is okay to occasionally say, “I don’t know”.
- There is no loss in credibility by saying, “I don’t know, but I will look into it” or “I don’t have an answer. What do you think?”
By being honest with your staff and yourself you can increase your credibility and make you a better leader. So don’t be afraid of saying. “I Don’t know”.