My criteria for a radio or TV talk show worthy of my time and attention include well-informed guests, diverse points of view, and a moderator who is able to bring out the best in those guests.
In addition, I appreciate talk show guests who are able to say “I don’t have information about that” or simply “I don’t know” when that is the case.
Saying “I don’t know” is also an essential skill for principals and teacher leaders.
Sometimes I joke with school leaders that they seem to believe that their job descriptions include a responsibility to know the answer to all questions and to be able to solve all problems.
Schools that have ambitious, stretching goals give their leaders lots of opportunities to say “I don’t know” because by their very nature such goals require school communities to invent their way forward. There are no right answers.
When school leaders don’t pretend to know everything, others in the school community have opportunities to develop their problem-solving muscles.
Plus, when teachers see principals responding honestly they are more likely to be vulnerable with their students and colleagues.
Fortunately, once you get the hang of it, it is easier and less stressful to be imperfect.
And, in the long run, our candor will be respected and appreciated by others.
Question: How have you and others benefited when you were able to simply acknowledge, “I don’t know?”