#10: The three most important words I have learned

Here’s nonsense at work.

Let me share with you the three most important words I learned as a consultant. Listen 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!

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.