Credibility 101: 4 Smart Reasons Saying 'I Don't Know' Wins
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

(Image: Thinkstock)

As a leader, sometimes you’d think you must have all the answers—or at least fake like you do. But oftentimes, a simple, “I don’t know,” is a better solution and does less damage than providing faulty or hasty direction without investigation. Here are smart reasons going the “I don’t know” route wins:

1. Your audience will hold you accountable.

If you pretend to know the answer without confirming accuracy, the audience may check your facts and prove you wrong (maybe even publicly) during or after the event. You just caused your credibility to decrease, fast.

2. We all want leaders we can trust and who trust in themselves.

Being authentic, honest and relatable will help you connect with your audience and retain their respect for you, which is more important than having the right answer. In a recent article on 99u about trusting yourself James Victore writes, “Practice being in the state of not knowing, establishing comfort within trust.” Your audience or team will respect you for acknowledging you don’t know and appreciate your honesty.

Read more at Brazen Careerist …

Join the Conversation

Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.


MORE ON BlackEnterprise.com