In business it doesn’t matter who is right; we really need to worry about what is right. Most conflicts happen at the workplace because we are worrying about ‘who’, not ‘what’.
Imagine a situation where Alex and Bill are discussing how to architect a new piece of software. Somewhere in the conversation, Alex tells Bill: Let me tell you why I am right and you are wrong. How likely is it that Bill will still listen to Alex’s arguments and change his mind? I would say: not very likely. None of us respond well to such an approach.
Now suppose Alex instead tells Bill:I truly respect you and your point of view … but tell me what am I failing to see here? It is now far more likely that Bill will listen, and the conversation will shift focus more on what is right, not who.
We must acknowledge differences, and be careful when we frame our conversations. We want a situation where Alex coherently explains his point of view… and Bill reacts positively and offers counter-arguments, Bill now is more warmly accepting of Alex’s arguments … and the dialogue ends amicably with either Alex or Bill snapping his fingers to say: got it!
This exercise only works if both Alex and Bill choose to be genuinely sincere. If Alex is only pretending to be conciliatory, Bill will quickly see through his act and harden his posture. You can only win this game if you play it fair and right.