RSS The Unimportance of Being Right

Okay, I’ll admit it; the unimportance of being right is a fun topic for me to discuss.

Many times in my life I have known people whom I would describe as, shall I say, “perfect?” Classmate or teacher, colleague or supervisor, client or vendor; some people always seem to have the right answer to every question, and they know it. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind dealing with smart people; in fact, I relish it. They challenge me to be better for a couple of reasons: One, I greatly enjoy learning something new and two, it allows me the opportunity to, perhaps, enlighten them.

The hardest part about being right is simply that what may be good for one person may not be good for another. I’m of the opinion that no one knows everything, and no one always has the best answers all the time. Life just doesn’t work that way.

For an individual to be “right” all of the time they must see a particular problem from their perspective as well as from the perspective of other people. Likewise, a solution must not only address the problem, it must allow the individual dealing with the problem to achieve an outcome that they too will benefit from, not just intellectually, but emotionally as well.

Ultimately, what gets me the most about individuals who think they are always right is that they feel they must always be right. As if being right is the only thing that matters. Okay, there I’ve said it. As I think back to examples of verbal exchanges with these types of individuals, rarely have I found them to be wrong; what I have found, however, is that many times there is more than one right answer.

If you are one of those individuals who must always be right and you have been blessed with a personal and professional life that has helped you build the confidence necessary to feel that nothing less than being right is acceptable to you, congratulations. We all wish we could be so fortunate. However, if you are one of these individuals and you are in a position of leadership, I would like to give you the benefit of some professional wisdom of my own.

Consider the possibility that the mere fact of you being “perfect” comes at a significant cost. There is a good chance that you will be seen as being invulnerable, which in a position of leadership will tend to push you away from the very individuals you need to help your organization grow and prosper. There is also cost to your staff – or possibly even loved ones - because they will be immobilized to thinking and acting for themselves as they wait for you to tell them what to do.

In some instances, certainly in life and death circumstances, there may only be one right answer. In the world of business, which tends to be as much art as science, right is in the eye of the beholder.

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One Response to “The Unimportance of Being Right”

  1. John says:

    hey man, nice blog…really like it and added it to bookmarks. keep up with good work

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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