What to Say When You Don’t Know and How to Gain Confidence Through Your Search for Answers

“We have this problem. What are we going to do?” You’ve probably been asked this question a thousand times by a teammate, an executive, or a customer/client who brings an urgent issue to you.  

Many times, you have solutions. But what happens when you don’t? Should you fake it? Make a snap decision? Will you lose respect, credibility – or business -- if others figure out you don’t know?  

One of the darkest places a leader can find themselves is standing in front of others and not having the answer. In this short video, I share a story of a crucial time I came face-to-face with not knowing, and how I handled it.  

I encourage you to watch. A few insights include: 

  • Leadership is fraught with uncertainty. There will always be times when you don’t have all the information you need.  You must be willing to keep moving forward, making the best decisions you can.
  • Once you make a decision, you can’t control everything that happens, Have confidence to know you are nimble enough to adjust and smart enough to figure things out as you go. (And smart enough to surround yourself with the right people who can help you.)
  • The best leaders don’t solve every problem for their teams. They empower others to discover their own solutions.

I also share tips on: 

  • What to say when you don’t know 
  • How to turn that around to demonstrate confidence as a leader 
  • How to engage others to help you find answers 
  • The ROI of being “hungry to learn” and how that can pay off with new thinking 
  • The impact on your team when you become a learning leader  
  • An ideal approach for empowering others to solve problems for themselves 

It’s okay to say you don’t know. But you can’t end the sentence there. Confident leaders know what to say – and do -- next. Please watch here.

Written By

Elise Mitchell

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