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ARTICLE: On (Not) Knowing

Updated: May 1, 2020

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What's dangerous about pretending to know? Is it acceptable to embrace "I don't know" in your workplace?

Mark Nevins has written an insightful article "On (Not) Knowing" on Linked In Pulse. Think about it: most of us like to know, have it all worked out, be "on top of things", and feel in control. We don't like to not know, be out of our depth, look clueless or incompetent, or feel vulnerable. This adds up to intense internal and external pressures on leaders to be "strong," "powerful," "confident," and "have all the answers", and the need to excel at everything and receive praise for "getting it right." Not knowing is risky territory and can feel overwhelming or disempowering.

The complicated challenges we face in business need to be solved by novel thinking and behavior. Have you ever considered that in some situations that knowledge can get in the way—and not knowing can be incredibly useful? A leader who embraces uncertainty, honors doubt, and shows vulnerability can increase the potential of her organization (team, staff) to be effective learners, to model collaboration, and to communicate better with each other and customers.

The article discusses the Four Dangers for All-Knowing Leaders and "Seven Ways To Not Know Like a Leader". Check the article out here (opens in separate browser tab).

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