Five Questions for Leaders Who Would Rather Be Effective Than Right

Posted 11.05.2014

sign-effectiveDuring the opening session of a new leadership development program last week, I asked the participants to share the biggest leadership lesson they’ve learned in their careers so far. There were a lot of interesting answers. One participant shared one that really stuck with me because I think it’s so true. The lesson was it’s not enough to have the right idea, you have to influence other people to believe that it’s the right idea.

The essence of the lesson that leader shared is captured in a behavior that we’ve been measuring in our Next Level Leadership® 360 Degree Assessment for the past eight years:

Chooses effectiveness as a more important outcome than “being right.”

You might have all the facts and logic on your side. The answer may be painfully obvious to you. That voice inside your head may be screaming, “What part of this do these people not understand?” You may be asking yourself, “Do I really have to keep explaining this?”

No, actually, you don’t.

If you’re more interested in being effective than in being right, quit explaining and start listening. Here are some questions you can ask to listen and learn that will help you and everyone you work with be more effective:

  • What does success look like to you?
  • What’s important to you?
  • What else?
  • What do you need from me?
  • What do you think we should do?

What’s your experience? What do you do to keep your focus on being effective rather than being right?