Is it a sign of weakness in your organization to say “I don’t know?” Is it a requirement that you be certain all the time?. There is a name for an annoying adult who hogs the conversation with dubious facts and stalwart opinions, often wrong, but never in doubt. Such a person is called a “know-it-all.”
There are some organizations that appear to be entirely populated with know-it-alls. Listen in on meetings, on groups trying to make a decision. How did the organization hire 100% know-it-alls?
It didn’t. It created them by establishing the perverse rule that admitting you don’t know something is admitting weakness. You betray weakness by admitting you are not on top of it, no matter what it is. The unspoken rule is:
Never say I don’t know, even if it’s true.
If you feel that you lose status by saying “I don’t know” recognize that you are living a fraud. Healthy organizations are full of I-don’t-know-admitters. Telling the truth is okay, really