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What if not knowing the answer, led you to the answer?

Jan 27, 2023

It takes real courage to admit that you don’t know the answer to something. I’ll admit I struggle with this, especially as a leader. Aren’t you supposed to be one of the key people on a project with answers to whatever challenge is thrown up on any given day? Yes, experience helps. So does a strong sense of conviction for what feels right. But what if we let go of this idea that leaders need to have all of the answers all of the time, and encouraged the search for the right answers instead?

Might brand new solutions be offered?

And, new voices heard? 

When you stop and think about this it has the potential to be a strength rather than a weakness.

It opens up opportunities for team members to step up and a culture of collectively figuring things out to emerge. This cand prove priceless for building and sustaining momentum within your team. Problem-solving can be tricky depending on the scale and complexity of the problems you are solving. I don’t want to dumb this down or incentivise leaders walking away from problems. But I do want to open up the possibility that by saying “I don’t have the answer but let’s go find it,” a better solution may present itself.

The process of debating and negotiating the solution may also provide opportunities to uncover important project truths - otherwise buried - and fresh ideas to be developed.

Please don’t take this out of context. 

Shrugging your shoulders as a leader or shirking responsibility is not the name of the game. But just imagine the look on your team member’s faces when you turn and ask for their help, invite their opinions and share your decision-making process with them. You’ll not only see their eyes light up, but you’ll see who is prepared to stick their neck out, who is a creative thinker and who is more logical. Better still, you’ll understand the mechanics of how your team operates.

This can shine a light on whether your team needs more support in specific areas or more space to do what they do best.

Either way, you will gain clarity, perspective whilst also and lightening your load.

Your team builds greater autonomy, resilience and a renewed sense of purpose.

All with a simple statement, “I don’t know the answer to this, but let’s prioritise sorting this out. Who is willing to help?”

I’m not saying it’s easy.

But I‘m hopefully making the case that it’s worthy of the internal struggle. It has the potential for big rewards.

If you want to discuss any aspect of leadership for yourself or your team then please reach out to me for a free no obligation call. I’m on a mission to inspire and support a new breed of courageous leaders to improve the impact you will have on the built environment. Our industry has some amazing opportunities and challenges ahead and we need leaders who can use their energy and talents more effortlessly.

I have written a book - BUILD SUCCESS - that is a visionary and pragmatic blueprint to support courageous leaders in pursuit of high-quality project outcomes. It's for leaders no longer willing to compromise themselves, their teams, or their projects.  

I invite you to book a call with me to see how I can help you or your team achieve next-level leadership confidence, clarity and ease. 

 Enabling your success!




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