One of the scariest things to admit to yourself as a leader is the fact that you don’t know everything about everything.
There’s this common misconception that because of your role, you have the answer to it all. If not, you’re surely a bad leader, right?
You’ve not been hired/promoted because your company needed a human encyclopaedia. You got the job because they believe in your ability to LEAD.
You may not have the answers to every question, but you’ll be able to help find those answers!
It’s always better to say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out who does know or where we can find this out for you”, rather than to give the wrong answer. People will lose trust in you and once you lose their trust, you won’t get it back easily.
I learned this the hard way.
On my first day, in my very first leadership role, even when I knew I didn’t have the right answer, I felt obliged to give one. What else was I supposed to do? I was the manager! I had to know it all!
I lost the trust of my team on that first day and spent the next ten months building it back up.
What I learned is that having the knowledge of ‘everything’ is not quite as powerful as being emotionally intelligent. My emotions were telling me to give any answer out of fear of appearing incompetent. Instead, I did just that! I showed incompetence in being able to stand up as a leader and say “I don’t know everything”!
Never again …
Written by Sahar Habib
Founder of Coach Wilson