Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's Okay to Say, I Don't Know...

I have been thinking a lot about teamwork and growth lately. As much as I believe we hold the cards for our own destiny, I also believe our level of success and growth are closely related to our environments, in particular, the teams with whom we work and surround ourselves.

The last 30 days have been quite interesting to say the least... a new position in a new district has proven to be quite the challenge thus far. It would seem that I am learning about an entirely different world of education that has somehow alluded me throughout my career. Yes, of course there are certain topics that are easy to pick up on and just require the time and experience, but there are many others that are much more complex and demanding of their understanding and application.

I find myself being uncomfortable way more than I am comfortable with, and I find myself saying, "I don't know," far more often than I am used to.

One of the beauties of this new position is the people with whom I work. They are helpful, they encourage me, and they are understanding of the learning curve I have. They have embraced my curiosity and lack of knowledge by providing me a plethora of opportunities to learn and garner valuable experiences. They have made it clear that they have high expectations, but they are also realistic and understanding of the time it takes to achieve high levels of growth and forward progress.

Teamwork requires vulnerability... and when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable we open the doors to trust, and once the doors of trust are open any organization can move forward and grow. Great organizations and great leaders encourage "I don't knows," because they allow for and make room for growth and progress. To be honest, I would be scared to be a part of an organization where "I don't knows" are discouraged and frowned upon...

How do you respond to "I don't know?"

How do those within your organization respond to "I don't know?" 

BONUS: We have all heard someone say, "I don't know, let me find out for you." This response is something we have all experienced and we have all personally said at one time or another. There is however quite a big difference in how it is remembered. If you tell someone you don't know but you will find out, then you better well do what you say! There is nothing more frustrating than asking someone a question and having them say they will find out only to find out they never followed up with your question.