Why We Get It Wrong When We’re Focused on Being Right
As a leader, how much of your authority, credibility and likability depends on “getting it right”? Knowing the right information, doing the right things, starting the right initiatives, promoting the right people, solving the right problems, pursuing the right goals, etc.?
I am going to guess that a lot depends on your ability to get it right.
The unfortunate catch-22 with getting it right means that you likely have a substantial amount of pressure on yourself to ensure you rarely (if ever!) get it wrong. But here is the real problem of this approach – the pressure does not just stick solely to you; it seeps into all efforts aimed at getting it right.
An Example About Getting It Right
For example, let’s say you promised your CEO that project X would be completed by Friday at 5 PM. However, one of your reports, Dan, failed to complete his part of the project. Therefore, this meant that at the earliest, the project would be completed by the following Tuesday. Unfortunately, your reputation and dependability could be questioned by your CEO. How will you respond to your CEO’s disappointment. Likewise, how will you discuss the matter with Dan? Your reaction in this scenario will probably be affected by:
- Whether or not you blame Dan.
- What you perceive your role to be in the problem.
- How disappointed your CEO is with you?
- Why Dan failed to complete his part on time.
- Whether or not Dan has a history of missing deadlines.
Most of the time, we do not consciously review the effect every factor has on our response – but that is sort of the problem. Without awareness into the various things that are influencing our response, we are more likely to focus on the only thing that seems to matter: being right. Or, at least ensuring we are perceived as the one that was right. This is not the only thing that matters. Certainly, there is so much more at stake, including your relationships with each individual.
If you fail to recognize that there is so much more to gain besides always getting it right. Also, you might react very differently when things go wrong. We all know that a leader’s likability, credibility, and authority has more to do with how much they are respected, admired, and involved.
Pulling It All Together
If you do not believe in this argument, take a few minutes to reflect on your current boss. Which of the two categories below do you notice more?
- Their level of support, encouragement, and expertise.
- Their record of mistakes.
If it is the first, you are in the majority. However, this is not to say that mistakes go by unnoticed, but it is to say that so many other things make a leader noteworthy. In sum, leadership equates to a sacred trust between people. Helping your team succeed supersedes being right all the time.
But I would love to hear what you think – does getting it right determine everything else?
Also, are you committed to your team’s success? If so, see this complimentary Coaching for Results eBook.
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Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success? Go here for Rick’s Superstar Leadership eBook.