Being Right Syndrome

Many decisions are made collaboratively. During this process things sometimes get heated beyond a level-headed discussion.

Two or more people may strongly disagree over a particular issue, one of them can say something that rubs another the wrong way, and things would escalate from there.

Ultimately, we can get to a situation where not only the ongoing decision but also many of the upcoming ones are compromised.

One lesson decision makers tend to deduce from such conflicts is that they are “right.” Both parties of the tension find it easy to focus solely on the aspects of the issue that prove them correct.

Yet the more complicated a problem, the more likely it would involve disagreements. Hence, instead of spending all their time being “right,” decision makers could use these divides as a sign to ask two fundamental questions:

1. What does the conflict reveal about the decision?

Widely differing viewpoints usually signal a critical issue or a point of fragility. In multifaceted problems, both opposing parties may be right in some way. The disagreement helps surface clues about possible common grounds and compromises.

2. How can we avoid the next conflict?

We learn a lot about ourselves and an opposing party when we fight over a certain issue. These insights could be used to better prevent things from escalating and leaving any lasting damage.

Nobody likes to be wrong. But being “right” all the time gets in the way of improvements in the decision process.

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