In principle, most of us want to appear knowledgeable. We want to provide an answer to every question. We want to impress our fellow group members. In reality, saying “I don’t know” is often more helpful. When we think we know things it can close our mind to new, more accurate knowledge. When we convey what we think we know to others, it can lead them astray and provide a false sense of security.
Groups working with presumed knowledge rather than actual knowledge can waste huge amounts of time. Worse, decisions based on false presumptions rarely hold up over time and usually bring costly consequences. When we say, “I don’t know,” it inspires us all to learn, to get the facts, to ponder until clarity emerges.
Practical Tip: Adopt a posture of “I don’t know” and say, “I don’t know” until you really do know. Resist the temptation to impress; rather, answer to the higher callings of honesty, integrity, and humility.
– Craig Freshley