Right? Or effective?

Posted on Nov 6, 2019

Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be effective?

If you are like most people, your immediate answer is, “Both!” But the reality is that being both at the same time is not always an option.

This concept is a struggle for a lot of people, especially leaders who have worked their way up through the ranks and have significant technical knowledge in their area. When you are proposing a change and one of your peers without any technical knowledge pushes back, it can feel like that person is just downright unreasonable. Or arrogant. Or both. After all, how can s/he question your recommendation when s/he doesn’t even have the background to understand the detail?

This can also be a struggle for a leader who feels they are getting pushback from their direct reports. YOU are the leader of this team and it is YOUR job to set the direction and communicate it, and the people who report to you should just fall into line. Right? Questioning the direction that you’ve chosen for the team can feel like a direct challenge to your authority, and can escalate to pure insubordination.

It’s an incredibly frustrating situation, and guiding leaders through this dilemma of right vs effective is one of my most common coaching points in leadership development. It’s hard to KNOW you are right and have people who SHOULD defer to your experience and authority refuse to get on board.

As with all change, this isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Please contact me — I’d love to help.