The Bottom Line Series, by Lonnie Tkach
The Power of Being Wrong
From a lifetime of interacting with others, and over 20 years in business leadership roles, one of the greatest needs I have observed in other human beings, is the need to be right.
Research shows us that it is one of the ways the ego is most satisfied, being right — no matter what the cost. History shows that millions of people have lost their lives over the need to be right. Whether it was over a political ideology, religious views, rights of ownership of property or natural resources, or misunderstandings in personal relationships; people go to incredible lengths to be the one who is right.
Think about the amount of energy and stress that goes into being right. Now, imagine how it would feel if you could let go of the need to be right. Maybe there is a family issue you can think of right now, or a disagreement with a co-worker or conflict with an employee.
How different would your life be right this minute if being right wasn’t even a consideration or concept?
I know for myself, that when I consciously made the change in my life approximately 15 years ago, to let go of the need to be right, there were people who I hadn’t seen for a couple of years, who didn’t even recognize me the next time they saw me.
The intensity I used to carry in my body and on my face was gone — it was replaced with an easy going smile and an ability to see the lighter side of life. That one change added years to my life!
As business owners and managers, let’s take a few moments to examine what the cost is, if we are assuming the need to be right. Just before we do this, we may as well tackle the obvious question: “When I admit fault, or admit that I wasn’t right, isn’t it a sign of weakness? Will my staff lose respect for me, if they know that I was wrong?”
I humbly admit I used to think that way, but when I consciously decided to change my attitude in this area, I realized it was quite the opposite. Admitting you are not right is a sign of strength — you are showing other people that your sense of worth is not based on whether you are right or wrong. You are more interested in getting to the bottom of things and creating positive results, whether it is your idea, or someone else’s idea, whether your opinion is right or not.
When I started taking myself less seriously, and was able to admit mistakes, even trivial ones, it put my employees at ease with me; when they saw me laughing at myself — I gained their respect.
I also gained their loyalty, because they realized that their ideas were sometimes being chosen over mine.
In the context of the workplace, let’s talk about the cost of being right:
You isolate yourself from your employees, or the people on your team. People shut down because they don’t feel like they will have the chance to have a reasonable dialogue with you.
You are not respecting the individuality, resourcefulness and creativity of others. This will have a dramatic negative impact on employee and team engagement. This impacts the quality of interactions between your staff and customers, as the team morale is down.
It cuts you off from possibilities and opportunities. You might be missing out on some incredible innovations in your company!
It creates a decline in your own personal curiosity, since you are always right — you don’t need to learn new things, and so there is a decline in your learning attitude. As a business owner or manager, you cannot afford this cost!
It adds a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress and distraction, as much of your energy goes into being right.
The bottom line…. Give up the need to be right. It will change your life! And it will positively impact the relationships and results of your team at work – guaranteed.
Lonnie Tkach is the owner of Anytime Fitness Campbell River. With over 20 years experience in business, Lonnie has a passion for making positive contributions to other peoples’ lives, including the members and staff at his fitness club, as well as his fellow business owners in our community.