When Being Right Goes Wrong

 In Communication, Leadership, Strategic Planning

“But—I was right!”

It’s the proclamation of countless clients following an intense interaction with a coworker, friend, or family member. Many fight to be right without even realizing it. They fight because there’s value in it and a payoff, but “being right” comes at a cost.

It’s simple math. If you are “right,” then typically someone else has to be wrong. Is that really what you want? It does feel good to be right. Based on what we know about modern neuroscience, every time you’re right, your brain gets a powerful dopamine hit. You get an immediate boost to your self-esteem and a rush of adrenaline. This dopamine hit sends you searching for how you can be right again. Who doesn’t want to have all the right answers? Yes, it does feel good to be right, but is it worth the risk of undermining someone else’s self-worth and demotivating them?

You can always find something you were right about, but, remember, the same is true of the other person’s position. If you search long and hard you will find something of merit in their position.

As a leader, what if we leveraged the power of being right and intentionally gave it to our people? All the sudden they’re more motivated and engaged. They’re all-in on the idea and they are getting the dopamine hit instead of you. If you flip the who’s right scenario, your people will be searching for how to be right again, to do more, to get better results.

That moment in the spotlight you get from being right is probably costing you way more than you think. Give up on being right so that you get the right results. Isn’t that what really wanted anyway?

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