Being right can be a big problem for people in charge—and indeed for people whose quality of service relies on their capacity to give good advice: accountants, financial advisors, lawyers, doctors, business consultants and coaches, and many other professions.
Of course, being wrong is unacceptable in these people. I cannot have my financial advisor suggesting inappropriate investments through which I might lose money, or a doctor prescribing inappropriate medicine because he/she was wrong in their diagnosis.
So, what’s the problem? The problem is that many people confuse being right with their need to be right, their attachment to being right.
I once knew a business owner who showed every sign of being prepared to sacrifice his business rather than address the fact that he might be wrong about a single (admittedly important) part of its business model.
Because he traded on the quality of the business advice he gave, he couldn’t bring themselves to accept that it might be wrong. He presumably had a fear of the (imagined) consequences of giving incorrect advice.
However, needing to be right about one’s business model isn’t really about being right about it. Of course that is a concern, but it is not the concern. Rather, the business model is an instance of a general category of things—called “life”, or “the world”—about which the person needs to be right.
Needing to be right about how the world is, being comfortable in the knowledge that one can predict what will happen to one, is a result of a fear that, actually, the world is unpredictable—and that’s frightening.
So, needing to be right is a defence mechanism. It is as if the individual has been hurt in the past and they didn’t like it, so they are determined that it doesn’t happen again. One way of doing that is to control what happens to us. Of course, it doesn’t work.
by Jeremy Marchant . © 2015 Jeremy Marchant Limited . uploaded 18 june 2015 . image: Free images