‘I don’t know’ and ‘I don’t understand’ might just be two of the most important phrases in the english language. There are variations of these two – ‘Help me understand this.’ ‘I’m lost.’ ‘I am not following you.’ ‘I don’t get it.’ ‘Can you help me?’ And so on. This isn’t just an english thing, there will be similar phrases in every language.
The ability to admit we do not know everything is a key skill. Perhaps it bruises our ego. But more than this, knowing what you don’t know is key to good decision making. We don’t have to know everything. No one expects you to. No matter what your position in the team or organisation is.
I know little about cars, but I know someone who does. I know nothing about hearts, lungs, bones, and blood. That’s why I do to doctors, nurses, and specialists who do. And while I know a lot about data, digital, privacy, and change there is heaps I don’t know. And so I talk with others who do know.
Knowing what you do not know is, in fact, much easier than trying to know everything or trying to appear that you do.
The choice is up to us.