Leadership: The Ability to Say “I Don’t Know”

You were promoted to that position that you have worked so hard for in management. 

For several years, you were one of the most knowledgeable people in your respective area of work.

You were the go-to guy/gal for many people within your organization.

That time has passed: You are now in a leadership position.

When you were working in the positions of those whom you now manage, you knew everything (well almost…) about your profession within the confines of your organization.  There weren’t many times when you had to say the words “I don’t know” because you had worked so hard for so long to learn everything that you possibly could to ensure that you could perform your job efficiently thereby serving your organization to a very high degree.  In this new chapter of your career, you are now faced with an entire new set of challenges: departmental budget management/planning, Human Resource policy application, conflict resolution/mitigation, employee empowerment (leadership…), resource allocation management, managing sensitive organizational information, etc.  Eventually, you will come to the realization that you no longer can store up all of the information about everything that everyone who works for you has within their minds.  You have to learn to say “I don’t know” which should always be followed by…”but, I know who does“…which is then followed by the necessary action to ensure that those who need the information receive it from those whom have it.

There are people that assume that they must somehow retain all of the intricate details of the inner-workings of their department to an extremely detailed level.  This mindset is wrong.  You have employees for that reason; they are the experts whereas you are their leader.  Don’t get me wrong, you still need to keep up with your respective profession, but try to stay out of the “weeds”.  Be confident and remember that you have a group of individuals that work for you that now have the responsibility to perform the functions that you previously fulfilled.  Maintain a healthy knowledgebase, but learn to rely upon and empower your employees to stay in the “weeds” where you once operated.



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