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Don’t forget to share what you don’t know

Posted by Meg Bear on September 15, 2010

Those who work with me know that I give a LOT of feedback.

Most of it unsolicited.

Since I have the privilege of working with smart engineers, many [most] of whom are introverts, my feedback is often the same: speak up more.

In most cases, it’s as simple as being more willing to speak and tell people what you know.


In some cases, I find that people also get tripped up wanting to wait until they know to speak.  This is not really a bad idea.  Speaking about stuff you no nothing about, can certainly be problematic for your brand.

So why in the world would I think it’s important to talk about stuff you don’t know?

Here is the difference.  When you are a leader your team often cannot wait for you to know everything.  The absence of communication, leaves them in the lurch.  It creates stress, since they are not sure what to do next.

So what do you do when you need to speak and you don’t know what to say?

Here is where you need to tap into your authentic self and share what you do not know.  Let people know that you are not yet sure, but that you are working it out.  Give them the confidence that you are not unaware of, or ignoring the issue.

Often that extra step of communicating your own process, will help ease the strain and give people the confidence in you.  It also opens the line of communication for them to help.    People do not expect their leaders to have all the answers, but they do expect their leaders to be straight with them.

I challenge you to start sharing what you don’t know with your team and let us know the results.  I think you will be surprised to find out how much help you might have been missing, by trying to do it all on your own.

3 Responses to “Don’t forget to share what you don’t know”

  1. Testing again – I left a comment here the other day but it disappeared. This has been happening on several blogs…. but not others.

    • Meg Bear said

      so indeed I found this comment in spam. I’m guessing it has something to do with your country of origin appearing a bit dicey to WordPress ;-). It looks like the *actual* comment is lost so if you want to try again we’d be grateful.

      – Meg

  2. […] I have heard of companies tracking core competencies like “team player” and “flexible and adaptable” and even “collaborative”, but I have yet to hear enough people talking about tracking and rewarding people who share what they know (and what they don’t). […]

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