There’s A Wrong Way Of Being Right

I’ve said it before, the truth is a beautiful thing. Nothing taints truth like delivery it with malice and egotistical motives. In both life and leadership we tend to place a high value on it, if it is on our side. I don’t know anyone who loves being ‘wrong’.

Because of this, we all have the capacity to go to great lengths to justify our ‘wrong’, when it is clear we are. It just sucks to be the one who made the wrong call, causing a launch, product or project fail. Even in the most gracious, trust filled and kind environments it takes a lot of strength and courage to admit our part in the failure of an enterprise.

wrong way of being right

Though a virtue, some see vulnerability as weakness and incompetence. On the contrary, it takes more courage to acknowledge failure, than it does to justify it.

Coming back to truth… Everyone wants to have truth on his or her side. However, there are times, guaranteed, that we are right and others aren’t. Or vice versa.

Being ‘right’, for all its worth is not a license for perpetuating wrong [Click to Tweet]. I say this because there is a wrong way of being right.


Some people just want to be right for the sake of it. It is like winning a battle in which you gain nothing by winning. You are right… so what? Rubbing it in the face of those you do life with or serve on a team may gratify you and stroke your ego.

Some ways of ‘being right’ damage relationships in the long-term (Click to Tweet)

Resist the temptation, as the result is likely to be damage to relationships in the long-term.


Being right is not license to be nasty. Being rude is a wrong way of being right. Often when this happens, attention shifts to ill attitudes displayed and not issues at hand.

Don’t lose common courtesy because you’re right (Click to Tweet)

Keep in mind that the win should be for relationship and the mission. Being nasty or mean only serves the one who’s right and no one else. Relationships are fractured and missions undermined.

Told You

It can feel good to have been right when things on the overall are wrong and broken. It is just being human. Resist playing the famous, “I told you so” card. That doesn’t fix anything.

Your focus should never be who was right or wrong, but moving forward to realising mission. I say this often: Don’t be a jerk.

“I told you so” never fixed anything (Click to Tweet)

Think and act ‘mission and solutions’. That alone, should be the focus. When perspectives differ, it should be because of the mission being first and not fueling ego trips.


Being ‘right’, for all its worth is not a license for perpetuating wrong [Click to Tweet]

When you’ve been right and everyone else not, be mature about it. Don’t rub it in anyone’s face, be courteous and focus on solutions going forward. By doing so, you keep and strengthen relationships and continue focused on mission.

Helping Team Translate Implications For Areas Of Their Responsibility

In another post, (this one) I shared about a challenge I had in unlocking potential from some team members. The short of it, is that I didn’t realise they were failing to translate what a change in strategy at an enterprise level, practically meant for them. They understood the the enterprise was headed but failed to contextualize it to particular instances.

In retrospect I see that as a one of the sources of frustration they sometimes experienced was a result of not knowing what to do in their areas of responsibility. Like me, they were clueless. “Why were they so frustrated and why couldn’t I get them to go full throttle?”

Helping Team Translate Implications For Areas Of Their Responsibility

Because I now know better, I’ll explore how we could help team members translate implications for for areas of their responsibility.


Like, language and attention, information is critical leadership currency. What leaders and teams don’t know not only disempowers them, but also compromises mission. A lack of information flow is like a blood steam with no nutrients for the body.

Information empowers and gives freedom to act. Leaders need to communicate strategic changes. There’s no strategic decision that is too small to change.


“What does this mean for your diary in the next three months?” is the kind of question that can help assess team members’ understanding of responsibility, in context. It causes team members to intentionally focus, reducing energy leak.

Team members must feel free to approach leaders and clarify. Submitting proposals or check-ins are helpful, in that corrections can be done early.

Teams and leaders must make use of chairs and share in an open platform or forum about what they are or will be focused on in the near future.

For leaders, they can use language like, “This is how your department can contribute…” or “Your work matters here because…” etc.


Leaders need to share as much information as they can. Where there is silence, much can be constructed to the detriment of mission. Dialogue is essential to make sure that everyone understands and embraces their part in grander scheme of things.

Be sure that everyone understands their contribution (or what it ought to be).

image: Sebastiaan ter Burg

All Must Translate Implications For Areas Of Their Responsibiitly

Going through some notes I made after a few team meetings a few years ago. I now understand something that puzzled me. On that team I had people with the skills needed. They were sold out to the mission. There were just two people whose potential I somehow failed to extract, in the context of the mission.

It is not that there were incompetent, they had all the skills, in fact more than needed. We had many meetings about what we, as an enterprise were working toward. So, it wasn’t that they were clueless about what we were trying to accomplish.

All Must Translate Implications For Areas Of Their Responsibiitly

The challenge was that they either didn’t understand what the calls meant for them. They could not translate what each change in strategy meant for them; their area of responsibility.

High performance teams have players who understand what each strategy change means for their area of responsibility.

For effective leading, leaders must check in with those they lead. They need to ask simple questions like, “What do changes “x” and “y” mean for you and your department?”, or “what do you understand your contribution in the context of project “z”?”

Every team player must be able to translate the implications for areas of their responsibility [Click to Tweet]

Such questions and their derivatives can help shed light on how well teams understand their contribution. This is not to do with whether they know that they are, for instance, the finance team, it has to do with what they need to be doing in particular instances.

Take budget cuts for example, can each department or team member understand what it practically means for them, and not just the enterprise?

Team members need to take a time out and, in a focused way, actually think about what “x” or “y” actually mean for them. They must be able to translate, in context, what they need to be focusing on. They must check in with oversight or leaders if they understand their particular role the same.

This may reveal different perspectives. It is not that different perspectives necessarily bad. Sometimes they are healthy. And, at other times, can be the detriment and death or crippling of mission.

Teams can be ineffective when they can’t contextualise or focus their general responsibilities into specifics for particular instances.

The function of leadership has to do with bringing many parts together for the purpose of mission. So, a leader does not and cannot work alone. Like Maxwell suggests, if you think you’re leading and there’s no one following, you’re only taking a walk.

Leaders cast vision and pull many strings together. They make sure that puzzles pieces fit perfectly to create the picture they set out to do from the start. Even the blank puzzle pieces matter…

Leaders can point the direction. They can be as vivid as they can be about the vision for their enterprise. None of this really matters unless those they lead can translate what that means for them, practically, and in context.

[image unplash]

What If I Let You Tweet Or Blog As Me?

A weird thought I just had (I know you get those from time to time as well). What if I let someone tweet it blog on my behalf, as if they were me.

It might reveal how well the person knows me. It could also reveal how they think I see myself. It might be an interesting way to see myself through someone else’s lenses.

How others see me, especially those I work closely with, can be useful for greater teamwork. It could also be useful for my own growth.

Your thoughts? Would you do this also?

Published via Pressgram

Lost In Expression

This was a job ad I saw in a newspaper. Imagine that! An earth moving mechanic… I had no idea such existed. Where can I sign up to be that?

Communication happens when the message received by the receiver is as intended by the sender

There’s always room for misinterpretation. What varies is the degree of that probability. Thus every communicator’s responsibility is to reduce the probability of not communicating.

Receivers also do have responsibility of verifying the message as they understand it. Great leadership and teamwork depends on this. Lead & work well: communicate well.