I touched on this idea in an earlier post on virtual meetings (6 Tips for Effective Virtual Meetings), but it really can apply to your whole job.
I love being right. I feel vindicated in my role when my answers or opinions prove to be correct. I feel like I earned my pay that day. In my opinion, you can never be right too often.
But working to prove how right you are may not be in the best interest of you, your team, your employer, or your professional image. Does being ‘right’ matter? Or is the focus on being right hindering progress toward the overall goal of actually achieving the right answer or the correct solution?
At times, the working world can feel like you are fighting for dominance or more appropriately the illusion of dominance within your own ego. We may get into little disagreements with people and those disagreements turn into a situation where we feel we have to prove that we are the correct one. This can be a good and healthy way to work assuming that the focus is not on an individual being ‘Right’ but on the whole group achieving the correct answer.
I am sure we have all held meetings where someone came in and dictated the entire plan or solution to an issue. They dominated the meeting and the path forward. Many people may have caved immediately, taking the domination of the meeting as a sign of confidence and mistaking that for ability (confidence means nothing without ability, confidence and ability are not synonyms). Then maybe another co-worker spoke up about a flaw in the plan.
The dominating person wasn’t having that. He or she (let’s be honest, it was probably a he) was not okay with having something in their plan questioned. So now the issue becomes – is it worth the fight? Is it an issue that needs to even be discussed and if so, how can it be done effectively? You are not always likely to change the personality of the dominating person and if they perceive their authority is on the line or their ability being questioned they are very likely to fight over fairly trivial issues.
Your goal, as the enlightened one in the room, is to not get so bogged down with proving the dominating person wrong for the sake of your own ego. Don’t be like the dominating person. You are there to get the right path forward no matter what. Swallow your pride and get on that path.