Let me share with you the three most important words I learned as a consultant. Read carefully:
“I don’t know.”
Yes, yes, I know that consultants are not normally paid for not knowing. Nor are leaders. But leaders and consultants can be at their most effective when they admit to not knowing.
When a leader makes a statement, outlines a plan or offers a solution, followers stop thinking. However, when someone who is expected to know admits to not knowing, it creates a space for others to step forward with new ideas and different perspectives.
It is a wise leader who, even when knowing, occasionally says, “I don’t know.”
So be brave and try it. It is quite liberating. And you might even learn something from your followers.
I often say “I don’t know” to my coaching clients. I continue to learn from them and get paid for it. What nonsense!