Handling Know it Alls

Is It Wrong to Always Be Right?

Recognize any of these people around you? They must always have the last word in a discussion. They want to “set the record straight” in meetings. They blame others for their mistakes.  They find “reasons” why their information was inaccurate, outdated, or incomplete. They missed deadlines because they didn’t “know” about them. Their failed projects are due to “unclear instructions.”

If you yourself struggle with the tendency to always be right, consider ways to break the habit:


Breaking the Habit:  The Need to Always Be Right


Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Recall all the times you’ve believed in a politician who has let you down because he or she wasn’t all you believed about them. Consider social issues that turned out to be more complex than you first imagined.

Have you dared to dream dreams that you’ve not yet turned into reality? At one point, you believed them to be possible, but now you don’t.

My guess is that you and a spouse, parent, or sibling believe differently about a few issues as well. Chances are, you’ve expressed your opinions to these family members, telling them confidently what you think. But after closer reflection and more discussion, you’ve changed your mind and decided you don’t think those things anymore.

Listening fully to another’s point of view with an open mind takes courage and practice. Listening to understand another perspective stretches the mind.


Don’t Believe Everything You Feel

Just as you can’t believe everything you “think,” neither can you believe everything you feel. Some days you feel energetic, pumped, positive, ready to climb a mountain peak. On other days, you feel down, depressed, and defeated.

But you don’t typically go about your business acting on those feelings. That’s what emotional intelligence is all about. Instead, you maintain your emotional equilibrium and center yourself for the job interview, the sales call, or the management meeting.

Why? Because you know that your feelings are NOT the truth about your real condition. You are neither ready to climb a mountain peak or jump off a bridge to your death.

Feelings come and go. Let them. The feeling of embarrassment over a mistake will pass. A mistake will not define who you are—particularly not the garden variety mistakes most humans routinely make.


Consider Vulnerability as the Pathway to Connection

Most people will identify more with your failures than with your successes. Embrace humility. When you don’t know something, say so. When you forget something, acknowledge the memory lapse. When you make a mistake, own it. If your project fails, learn from its lessons.

Very few people can identify with perfection—particularly the perfect person. They may stare, but they don’t touch. Physically, socially, emotionally. Humans appreciate humility.


Do right. Be right. Live right. But there’s no need to announce or project that position to the world.



Do you have a copy of Dianna’s latest book, Communicate Like A Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done (Berrett-Koehler)? If not, you can download a complimentary excerpt here: http://www.communicatelikealeaderbook.com/excerpt