Is It More Important to Be Right or Effective?

Right or EffectiveA young woman was explaining to her friend why she decided to marry one man rather than another. She said, “When I was with John, I thought he was the greatest person in the whole world.

Then why didn’t you choose him?,” her confused friend asked.

Because when I’m with Bill, I think I am the greatest person in the whole world.

Obviously Bill had learned how to be effective in relationships.  And so can you.  That’s what my new program is all about … The Power of Partnership:  7 Keys To Better Relationships and Greater Teamwork.  You can check it out by clicking here.

One of the keys to positive relationships is how you make the other person feel about himself. When you help the other person like himself a little more, you can be certain he’ll like you a great deal more, and you can be certain he’ll be a great deal more motivated.

So how can you do that?


1.   Be wary of the need to always be right.

Are you one of those people who has always got to be right? If so, you’re probably not much fun to live with and you may be difficult to work with. After all, if you’re always right, that means everyone else is wrong–and I guarantee you, they don’t like it.

It’s like the priest and the monk on a journey. As they approached a river, they saw a woman standing at the river’s edge, unable to cross. Despite the fact they had taken vows never to touch a woman, the priest put the woman on his shoulder and carried her across the river.

When they reached the other side and continued their journey, the monk lashed out at the priest for breaking his vows. He went on and on, criticizing his travel companion, because he was right, according to their vows.  He kept up his criticism until the priest replied, “Brother, I set her down at the river’s edge. You’re still carrying her.”  It was the priest, of course, who knew it was more important to be effective.

If you’re guilty of always needing to be right, ask yourself if it’s worth it. After all, YOU WILL PAY A HIGH PRICE FOR ALWAYS NEEDING TO BE RIGHT. And the price you pay will be damage to your relationships.

You see, no one wants to live or work with a person who’s always right. The behavior looks arrogant and makes everyone else feel inferior. And when people feel inferior, they will withdraw from you, talk about you, or challenge you–none of which you probably want.

So what should you do if you’re guilty of being too self-righteous?  The next time someone disagrees with you, try some new behavior. Instead of insisting you’re right, respond by saying, “You could be right. Tell me more,” and then really listen.

Along those same lines, for effective relationships on and off the job,


2.  Affirm the other person.

Mike Vance talks about that in his book, Break Out Of The Box.

Vance, the director of management development and training at Disneyland, had been hired to give a pep talk to the employees of a particular casino. Previous consultants had come into the casino, and along with the casino’s president, had agreed that employee morale was bad, employee grooming was “skuzzy,” and customer service was atrocious. The consultants had recommended the implementation of precise grooming policies, but the employees were furious. They interpreted the new policy to mean their president had no respect for them.

When Vance met with the employees before his speech, he found them to be warm and friendly, very different than the previous consultants. So he took a different approach. He said, “The problem isn’t you. It’s your difficult guests. Let’s face it; you’ve got customers who can be testy! That’s the problem. You guys are great.” The employees stood up and cheered. The casino president gasped in disbelief.

Why did Vance start that way? People never buy into your ideas if you start by telling them they’re second rate. Instead, you have to start by affirming them.

After Vance affirmed them, he pointed out the need to find a way to turn around unhappy, rude customers. He recommended a customer courtesy program based on leading by example.

Once the employees shifted their focus from defending themselves to working with the customer, they were instantly more motivated. They began showing the most courteous service anyone could imagine. Their goal became that of being so good at service that a customer just couldn’t be difficult. Employee attitudes, grooming, and communication improved dramatically and almost instantly.

The task had gone from “clean up your act” to “find a way to transform the customer.” It worked.  But remember this–it worked because Vance HELPED THE PEOPLE TO FEEL BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES–first.

Final Thought:  Let go of your need to always be right.  Be open to changing your mind once in a while.  After all, a person that never changes his mind is either stubborn or stupid, and neither behavior will lead to effective relationships.