A leader’s guide to being wrong

As children, we discover that being wrong and getting in trouble are painful experiences. Mistakes reflect on us personally: rather than taking them in stride, we let them balloon into pronouncements on our intelligence and character. Sadly, we learn that the blame game is an effective way to deflect criticism. We grow up practising how not to be wrong.

Being right, by contrast, validates our egos and our opinions. We believe being right causes our co‑workers, family members and even complete strangers to look up to us. Being right makes us look good and feel good.

We would argue that our insistence on being right does not serve us well, and especially does not serve CEOs and executives who want to grow their businesses and grow as leaders. We need to challenge the cultural bias against taking blame and learn to acknowledge when we are wrong, in the interests of self‑improvement.

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