I have a good friend who seems to be consumed with being right. When we’re talking about something and we disagree on a fact, I’ve learned that his silence means he has his smart phone out searching the internet to see who’s right. If I’m right, the silence continues until one of us picks up the conversation again. If he’s right, he lets me know it. It’s a good thing we’re friends because that can be very annoying. Leaders need to have an open mind and cannot be consumed with being right. Open mindedness encourages collaboration and engagement by group members. Being consumed with being right shuts that process down.
A recent study in Sweden had study participants look at two different photographs of the same person. Participants were then asked to identify which photograph they thought was the most attractive. Once the participants selected the most attractive photograph, unbeknownst to them, the photographs were switched. After they were switched, participants were asked to justify why they picked the photograph that they identified as most attractive. 75% of the participants defended their decision as they explained why they chose the most attractive photograph as they looked at the switched photos. Being right was more important than clearly observing and realizing that the photo they had selected as most attractive was not the photo they were defending.
What about you? Have you ever defended your decision in spite of clear evidence right in front of you that you were wrong? I think we’ve all been guilty of that at one time or another. It’s okay to be right, it’s not okay to be obsessed with being right. Leaders need to look at the evidence and keep an open mind. Doing so will lead to greater leadership effectiveness.
Please leave a comment below on what you think about this idea or share a time when you encountered someone determined to be right.