I don’t know.
Those three words, said in unison and uttered without thought, whispered, spoken, screamed or umphed will slowly, but surely, do no good. It really doesn’t matter if you work independently or dependently. I don’t know is at the top of the toxic-communication chart.
Think about it.
“Does this come in blue?” I don’t know.
“Can you fix this for me?” I don’t know.
“Will you deliver that product by next week?” I don’t know.
Fail. Fail. Fail.
When a question is asked an answer is needed and wanted and hoped for and expected. I don’t know dismisses all of that with the shrug of a shoulder and the bat of an eye.
In the rush of daily business and life it’s important to remember that answers don’t need to be delivered immediately. Really. It’s okay to replace I don’t know with I’ll find out or let me get back to you. At least then you will show that you’re actively trying to help someone by answering their question.
As if that’s not reward enough, you might actually be surprised by what you learn when you start hunting for an answer.