In her new book Heartfelt Leadership: How to Capture the Top Spot and Keep on Soaring, Deb Boelkes lays out the path to leading with the heart. Full of real stories and lessons from top heartfelt executives, the book will help you learn to transform from a person people follow because they have to, to one they want to follow.
One lesson that really stood out to us comes from Garry Ridge, chairman and CEO of the WD-40 Company. He says:
I love three words so much, ‘I. DON’T. KNOW.’ I think they’re the most powerful words we can use as leaders, to say, ‘I don’t know. Tell me what you know.’ Suddenly these barriers come down. Fear goes away. Conversation happens. Dialogue. Learning. Eventually, we come toward a position we both then say we think we agree on.”
When was the last time you admitted to yourself, your employees or your boss that you didn’t have all the answers? Too many leaders, especially new ones, struggle, unsure of how to resolve a problem or take the next step because they don’t want to appear vulnerable, weak or unable to handle the job.
They decide they will “fake it until they make it,” and they often lose precious time in the process. To learn why leaders refuse to ask for help, check out this post.
Asking for help is a sign of strength
No one can have all the answers. NO ONE. And the smartest leaders accept that. Then they surround themselves with people who know what they don’t know. More important, however, is that they listen to those people. They trust those people. And they empower those people to speak up, offer insight, and point out flaws they see, even with the leaders’ ideas and even when it is inconvenient.
Relying on smart, capable people to help you isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength and intelligence.
Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”
The next time you don’t know the answer, don’t pretend to. Turn to your team and work through the issue together. You’ll move faster, prevent mistakes and come up with a more solid plan when you consider the perspectives and insights of the talent around you.
About the Author:
Deb Boelkes is the author of The WOW Factor Workplace: How to Create a Best Place to Work Culture and Heartfelt Leadership: How to Capture the Top Spot and Keep on Soaring. She is not just a role model heartfelt leader; she’s the ultimate authority on creating best places to work, with 25+ years in Fortune 150 high-tech firms, leading superstar business development and professional services teams. As an entrepreneur, she has accelerated advancement for women to senior leadership. Deb has delighted and inspired over 1,000 audiences across North America.