Trigger Questions

Are you wise enough to not know?

Trigger Question #142 — reading time: about 1.1 minutes

“What part of I-don’t-know don’t you understand?”

This Trigger Question might be difficult for you to answer, never mind act on. If you are a leader or a manager.

Others expect you, the leader and manager, to know, to have answers. Maybe not all of them, but most of them. That’s why people come to you when they are stuck. They think you know. They think you should know.

After all, your boss does not pay you to use words like, “I don’t know.”

And yet, often you can be more effective at managing or influencing others when you admit to not knowing. Even when you know you know.

Saying that you don’t know, even when you do, creates a gasp and a gap. A vacuum. (Mother Nature abhors a vacuum. Apparently, vacuums suck. She will even suck ideas out of other minds to fill a vacuum.)

When you admit to not knowing, someone will feel obliged to fill the vacuum. They will either have the answer, have an answer, or they will blurt out something interesting that could trigger a new solution.

Be wise with your knowing and your not knowing. Occasionally say “I don’t know.” Even when you know. Then wait and listen.

Try it. You might even learn something from those who wish you would just tell them.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.