A local talk radio station, that annoys me no end, has a commercial with a creepy voice that says, "Saying, I don't know, is no longer acceptable".
In contrast, within Tejon Tech, we have a cultural statement (yes, we actually write them down, in Trello) that says,
It's OK to say "I don't know."
But it's more than just ok, I actually respect people more who say those three magic words - especially consultants who are under so much pressure to always have the golden answer.
Besides the obvious fact that claiming to know a subject when you don’t is a lie, here are a few other reasons by I respect someone who speaks up and says, “I don’t know”...
We live in a complex world, and, if you're tech consultant, we work in a complex industry, anyone who claims to know something when they don’t doesn’t respect how complex this world is.
You never know who really does know the answer, so making up an answer or claiming to know something when you don’t is not only lying, it’s stupid lying.
Saying, “I don’t know”, is an invitation to learn something new.
Saying, “I don’t know”, shows respect for those who do know.
Staying silent when you should speak up and admit that you don’t know something as well as the team thinks you do is a silent lie and puts the team and the project at risk.
Saying, “I don’t know”, builds a person’s credibility for those topics that the person does know.
so, now you know.