The Cost of Being Right

  • Criticizing a project in a condescending manner, such as, “It should have been done this way” or “X was a terrible decision” after the project is done, and even worse, while not being a contributor.
  • Finding the one thing wrong in the sea of 100 things that were done right.
  • Looking for something to be wrong, more often than right.
  • Acting as a mentor vs a coach, meaning, giving advice on how to do something versus guiding and empowering a person to find the answer within themself.
  • Language and grammar correcting.
  • Asking someone to correct something when I’ve could have done it, and nobody would have been the wiser.
  • Arguing a subjective topic to the death, using the most trivial points to add weight to a case.
  • Not letting someone potentially fail in order to let them learn things on their own.
  • Openly stating how a project should have been built can throw shade at individuals who did the best they knew how to with the resourcing, requirements, and time budgets given to them at the time. Chances are that they know how they would have done it differently, and what they really need is help and not a band of angry villagers explaining how some tool choice has violated their great grandchild’s first born.
  • Approaching everything with a goal, intentional or not, to find something wrong is mind numbing to contributors. What if the goal should be to find what is right? What if letting something be wrong is worth more than the eye roll or annoyed feeling you are creating? Is that accidental typo in a slack conversation really worth pinging the person about or just correcting in a public channel? I mean, maybe it is — if it changes the meaning of the sentence…sure.
  • Arguing the level of rightness to the death regardless if there is also other acceptable answers is exhausting to those that would rather avoid conflict. It can lead to an issue were only one voice is dominating every decision, every meeting, while others sit silently knowing the consequence of speaking up.
  • Knowing or thinking what the right answer is but letting others figure it out in their own way is a growth opportunity, provided that the cost/benefit ratio is in the right proportion should a plan fail. If we let people make mistakes, they often won’t repeat them, they will feel like they can make mistakes, which can drive innovation and creativity. In many cases, there isn’t a total failure versus a temporary diversion. Regardless, it is impossible to prevent failure, so it is more important to allow people to fail so they can learn how to recover from it and actually plan for it as a part of their critical thinking process.

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