Is Being Right Always Right?

by Aaron J. Henninger

The struggle to be right has sunk more than one potential alliance. The desire to win each engagement holds back many would be leaders. Having the confidence and the strategic perspective to allow others to experience success builds teams and interpersonal bonds. Sadly, some operate with a view that others must be wrong for them to be right. This is misguided and truncates collaboration and trust. Compounding these episodes is our ingrained programming to justify our stance, our mistakes, our belief in our righteousness.  This inability to trust ourselves often times manifests as an outward inability to trust others. 

What this really leads us to is a path that requires us to suspend or assuage judgement of others, and in the process that of ourselves. Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are. One of the best ways to overcome the urge to judge a person within the context of a pressurized situation is to employ the art of reframing. Try to view the person and their position in a broader context. 

When we accept that individuals walk on separate paths, we begin to understand that if we honor and respect individuality, these paths can still lead to the same destination. Forcing others to align with our views or our methods robs individuals and organizations of innovation and of diversity. 

Try this personal test. 

The next time you find yourself embroiled in a battle of right versus wrong, take a step back. What would you risk by acknowledging the other persons position? Furthermore, what greater risk is there in offering to take a few steps down the path that your colleague prefers? 

Validating another persons perspective is a low cost, high return endeavor. Demonstrating a belief in your associates intuition grants them the ability to self actualize and will cast you in the light of the supporter. While the act may seem small, the representative power is immense. Displaying nuance and sensitivity to the fuller success of the team (the individual as well as the collective) is an earmark of leadership. This quality will not be lost on organizational leaders. 

Demonstrating support for others is an incredible motivator. Fostering greater collaboration, the process will begin to align the trajectory of individual paths toward common goals and endpoints. Positioning yourself as a follower is as important in the continual development as a leader as any other activity. 

Do you have the maturity and resilience to be wrong every once and awhile? 

Aaron HenningerComment