Saturday, April 30, 2016

I Don't Know

These are 3 words I like to hear.

It means the person has the confidence to say there is something they don't know. Surely, everybody has things they don't know? However, in my industry (computer software), it appears that there are many that find "I don't know" (IDK) as tough to verbalise as "I love you". Why do technicians have trouble saying IDK? Is it insecurity or a fear of appearing ignorant?

Making up answers is unhelpful. It can lead to poor decisions. By hearing IDK, it gives you the chance to research the correct answer before taking action. A simple analogy would be asking a colleague if it's raining outside. If your colleague can't say IDK and gives you their best guess, they might be right. But if they're wrong you will get wet or take rain gear unnecessarily. The more useful response would be IDK, or "IDK - but it was sunny when I was out an hour ago".

I am happy to seek information from people who can say IDK. People who make up answers are the ones we avoid asking in future. I found early on in my career that saying IDK can also reduce tension. You are saying that t's OK not to know. I typically followup with "but I want to know and will find out for you".

It takes a self-assured person to say 'I don't know', so let's all be self-assured and more helpful..


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