There’s a philosophy that’s permeating workplaces that says not having all the answers is OK. It’s a counter-intuitive perspective with some valid points. As Janine Popick points out in Inc:
In today’s ultra competitive work environment, many people feel the need to be “super workers” and have an answer to every question. But, it’s not always a good thing if you have people who work for you that are afraid to admit they don’t know something, and it’s the kind of behavior that can ultimately get you in trouble with potential clients.
She goes on to cite an example of a ‘sales shark’ type who would sell anything to anyone without any thought to the company’s ability to fulfill a contract. This is obviously not a great place to be if your company, like most, is seeking long-term, trusting relationships with customers.
But what about the opposite? The power of ‘I know’? Whether its from a sales person or a supporting staffer, there is still a place for experience and expertise. The problem is that we have become a society of straight opinions rather than one or informed perspectives based on knowledge. Ultimately, a customer will appreciate perspective and opinion if it helps grow business. Managers should cultivate a culture of information and knowledge for the simple reason that it can often be the best way to make money.
Of course, Popick’s point is perfectly valid. No one should pretend to know when they don’t. But an employee with knowledge and/or experience shouldn’t be afraid to speak up when they know what is best for the bottom line.
Read the entire article here: http://www.inc.com/janine-popick/2010/02/the_power_of_saying_i_dont_kno.html