It’s not who is right; it’s what is right, is something I try to live by. The keyword in that last sentence is try. I don’t always succeed. A friend recently asked for inspirational sayings to share with their artwork. It was the first I thought of, but then I realized I’d only put a little thought into what the words mean.

In our complex and diverse world, conflicts and disagreements are inevitable. From personal relationships to global politics, differing opinions and perspectives are a natural part of human interaction. Often, the focus shifts towards establishing who is right and who is wrong, turning discussions into battlegrounds for egos rather than platforms for understanding and growth. But what if we were to shift our perspective? What if we prioritize what is right instead of fixating on who is right?

The Battle of Egos

The desire to be right is human nature. Hell, I want to be right, don’t you? It stems from our need for validation. It’s part of our ego. Healthy debates can be good, but an obsession with proving oneself right isn’t. When individuals become entrenched in their positions, they overlook valuable insights and alternatives outside their comfort zones.

Unfortunately, the “who is right” mentality often leads to unproductive debates, strained relationships, and a divisive atmosphere, prioritizing personal pride over understanding.

It’s Not Who Is Right; It’s What Is Right

Instead of focusing on who is right, why not focus on what is right? When we approach a problem with a solution-oriented mindset, we’re more likely to work together toward a resolution. This requires us to listen to each other, understand each other’s perspectives, and be open to new ideas.

How to Focus on Solutions

Focusing on solutions requires us to shift our mindset from one of competition to one of collaboration. Here are some tips for doing so:

Listen actively

When someone is speaking, listen to what they’re saying. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Try to understand their perspective and learn what’s behind their thought process.

Find common ground

Even if you disagree with someone, there may be areas where you can find common ground. Focus on these areas and build from there.

Keep an open mind

Be willing to consider new ideas and perspectives. Don’t dismiss something because it doesn’t align with your beliefs.

Avoid personal attacks

Attacking someone personally puts them on the defensive and makes it harder to find a solution. Stick to the issue at hand and avoid making it personal.

Remember your goal

Remember that the goal is to find an understanding that benefits everyone involved. Keep this in mind as you work towards a resolution.

The Role of Empathy

Empathy can play an essential role in transitioning from a “who is right” mindset to a “what is right” perspective. By actively seeking to understand the motivations, fears, and hopes of those with differing viewpoints, we can bridge the gap between opposing sides. Empathy doesn’t mean abandoning our principles, but rather, it allows us to engage in meaningful dialogue that respects individual experiences while working towards common goals.

Shifting Focus

Rather than approaching discussions with the aim of winning the argument, we should focus on what is best for all. This shift requires embracing humility, open-mindedness, and a genuine desire to find common ground. It’s about acknowledging that every perspective holds a piece of the puzzle and that collaboration can lead to understanding and help us find solutions.

When we prioritize “what is right,” we create an environment where compromise isn’t defeat but a step towards progress. We open ourselves to learning from others, enriching our understanding, and promoting empathy. This approach encourages constructive conversations and allows us to address the root causes of conflicts rather than simply masking them with temporary victories.

In a world teeming with complex issues and diverse perspectives, our ability to make meaningful progress may hinge on our willingness to shift our focus from “who is right” to “what is right.” When we place collaboration over confrontation, empathy over ego, and growth over validation, we grow.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out. It might help you stop putting off what you want to do.

Photo by Jessica Da Rosa on Unsplash