Hey, this is Julie Bee, and you’re listening to They Don’t Teach THIS in Business School. I’m so glad to have with me today.
Today’s message is short and sweet – we cannot learn until we acknowledge that we do not know.
As a business owner and a leader, I’ve learned over the years that the faster I admit to myself (and others) that I don’t have an answer, the sooner I learn how to address a problem.
For a current project I’m working on, I’m untangling about two decades of a mess created because my predecessor did not have a handle on the complexity of the job. It will take about one year to correct it, but the cost to the organization has been great. Poor (or no) information on which to make decisions and very frustrated team members are the tip of this iceberg when it comes to that cost.
And all of this could have been corrected if the person in this role had admitted they needed more help or that they flat out didn’t know what they were doing.
I believe it’s a leader’s job to say, “Listen team, I don’t know the answer to this. I need help figuring it out.” That level of vulnerability takes courage, but it also takes something else – compassion for yourself and others. If the leader doesn’t have an answer and doesn’t say something, everyone on the team will eventually suffer the consequences.
This lesson is one I’ve learned over the years for myself, as well. There was a time when I thought it was a weakness to admit I wasn’t sure about something, didn’t have the answer, or didn’t have the skills to do a specific task. These days, I feel like I’m saying, “I’m in over my head and need some help,” more than I ever have – both at work and in my personal life.
Here’s the good news about being in over your head or not knowing the answer – once you get help and you find the answer together, you will have more knowledge and more experience. So will anyone who helped you! In addition, the problem gets addressed and fixed faster.
A little vulnerability can reap massive rewards for business owners and leaders – we just have to be willing to ask for assistance.
When you’re faced with a decision or a problem for your company that you are not making progress on, remember this sentence:
We cannot learn until we acknowledge that we do not know.
I’m Julie Bee, and They Don’t Teach THIS in Business School