The power of being wrong

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If leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal, why should good leaders be okay with being wrong?

Being in a position of power makes you even more susceptible to confirmation bias – when you would like a certain idea/concept to be true, you end up believing it to be true and this means that you stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms your views.

The alternative is to be accepting of being wrong – being open minded and therefore listening to the views of others. Something even more challenging when you are a leader in a command-and-control system where people don’t question your decisions, let alone disagree with them.

So how do you know if you are too focussed on being right?

You think being right gains respect

Having an idea or a solution to a problem means nothing if others do not believe in your ability to make these decisions. A leader with an open mind, who listens to others, will make far better judgements than one who just assumes that they have the authority to make all decisions. A good leader leads with questions, not answers, and they inspire others to develop solutions. An easy way to adopt this approach is to practice not saying “no” immediately.

You always want to have the last word

You believe that your position at the top means you have to make the final decision or win the argument, in order to demonstrate your power and defend your title. However, that’s not going to solve the problem at hand. Changing your approach can be as simple as shifting from telling to listening. Hand in hand with this is having a sensitivity to others and understanding what is on their mind, as well as being polite, considerate and understanding.   

 You always want to win

Winning is great, however this mindset can affect your judgement and decision-making. This has been characterised as the solider or scout mindset – do you attack or defend, or are you focussed on understanding? Being a solider is even more prevalent in people who are in positions of authority. Ask yourself, are you trying to make the best decision, or win the battle? Sometimes leadership requires both mindsets, however having the openness and humility to change your course of action once new information has been received, will make you a better leader.

You are not being challenged

This is likely the result of you not creating an environment where your people can challenge you in an open and respectful way. Make the opinions of your team count. Listen and be open to the ideas of others. This will also keep you alert for new opportunities.

If you are a senior leader who is looking for assistance on developing and enhancing your leadership approach, get in touch with us. 

The Decipher Team      

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