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I Don't Know, But Together We Might

Added on: 19-Sep-17 12:00am

Author: John Dengate

A few years ago, we used a great video by Peter Bregman in our collaboration workshops about the power of being able to admit "I don't know" as a way of getting better outcomes from others.

I was reminded of that recently when a client told a similar story of how they tried it and found it changed the group dynamics of a team meeting significantly with people engaging, stepping up and being creative.

We talked a little about the challenges of being OK personally to try that, and I was left wondering why it seems so hard....

So what assumptions might sit there when I consider saying "I don't know?"

  • but I should!....(know the answer or what to do)
  • I might look incompetent
  • the boss might think I'm not up for the task
  • my team might think I shouldn't be in charge
  • I'll be less able to influence the decision
  • people may point the me!
  • my reputation might suffer

Or, I could be thinking

  • it's good I don't know it all or I might drive this in the wrong direction
  • it will be a great way to tap into the knowledge of the team
  • the boss wants people to innovate and this could draw out new ideas
  • the team will be grateful that they are more likely to be able to contribute their ideas
  • I will be more confident we are making the right decision if it emerges from the work we do together
  • I'm less likely to be blamed if we do this together
  • my reputation will be enhanced as a leader who works with others to get better outcomes

I'd love to give you some tips about how to do this, but I don't know....

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