Here is Tip #11 for Ministry Leaders in 2016…
Say, “I don’t know” more often.
Just because we are the leader, doesn’t mean we know all the answers. People often come to us with questions because they make two assumptions… 1 – We know the answer and 2 – We understand the question (or the situation) to begin with. The fact is, sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t.
We need to avoid the temptation to look and sound competent when we simply aren’t. It doesn’t mean we are less of a person or leader, it just means that we are ignorant in the classic sense of the word… sometimes we simply don’t know.
Good leaders don’t give into an arrogance that demands to have all the answers, all of the time. Or, worse, to give the appearance that we do when we know we are clueless. We should be secure enough in who we are and the team that we have around us to admit that the best response to a question that stumps us is, “I don’t know. Let’s see if we can find that out together.”
Saying “I don’t know” does 3 powerful things…
- Encourages a sense of team. No one has all the answers and we need the collective insight of others. No “one man show,” here.
- Engages team members. The answer may just be a question or two, a team member or two, away. Ask around and get others involved in the answer or solution. Collaboration is key.
- Empowers team members. Those with the answers may/may not be the one’s with the resources the answer requires. Either way, team members are brought around the table and then empowered to see that the question is answered and accompanying need is met. This is something that good leaders will acknowledge and celebrate!
Not feeling the need to have all the answers is liberating. Believe it or not, most people will respect you for it as a leader all the more. Why? Because they know you are no different than them, and they don’t know it all, either.
Grow your team by these three powerful words, “I don’t know.”