Right

“The hardest right to give up is the right to be right.”  


The last few organizations I got involved with heard a similar refrain from me…

“I’m not interested in leading or being in charge of anything.”

I am not joining your organization or board.  I am not taking an officer position or signing up to chair anything.  I mean, I feel like I lead or am in charge in every other arena of my life.  Decisions don’t seem to get made and nothing seems to happen unless I am driving it.  Can you relate?

That’s a problem right? 

My problem.

Turns out that I kind of like being in charge.  I typically end up in a leadership position of whatever I am a part.  I don’t necessarily like being responsible for everything, but I kind of think that my opinion is typically the right one.  I like things to go my way.  The world makes more sense when everything goes according to plan.

My plan.

The problem with that mindset is that it makes life feel overwhelming.  It doesn’t empower anyone else.  And while I may be right some of the time, I am not right all of the time.  In fact, I am often wrong or at least not as “right" as someone else might be.

The most difficult right to give up is the right to be right.

Like many of our clients, I loved the idea of my teams:

  • Sharing responsibility 

  • Taking ownership

  • Actually making their own decisions

  • Being part of a shared leadership team

And like many of our clients, I loved that idea….conceptually.  But when it meant that I actually had to allow other’s opinions to be valued, my conviction wavered.  I had to trust that the collective leadership opinion might be different and better than my own.  I had to allow some ownership of something in order for them to operate with that kind of mindset.

I am getting better at including others.  One of our team members says that I often say things like…

  • What do you think we should do?

  • I trust your judgment.

  • I am okay with whatever you decide.

  • Etc.

I am a recovering control freak.  I am learning to surrender the right to be right.  It actual feels very liberating.  The things I am part of are making better decisions and making them faster.  More is getting done and I don’t feel so personally burdened.  I am learning that while my opinion may be awesome, it may be less awesome than theirs. 

I have always believed that the collective wisdom and experience of the right leadership team will make better decisions than even the brightest owner.  I not only believe that, I am finding it to be true.

Consider

  • Do you want your team to take great ownership, lead independently of you, and join you in the burden/responsibility of running your company, organization or family?

  • Do you think you can really surrender the right to be right?

  • How could you start start implementing shared responsibility in small ways? Who could you start saying things to like “it is your decision”, “I trust your decision” or “I am okay with whatever you decide”?