The wrong feeling of “being right”.

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Nobody wants to be wrong, but the feeling of being right and the insistence on ones position often leads to meetings so heated that productivity is lost. Judith E. Glaser from the “Harvard Business Review” gives valuable advice on how to prevent escalations.
 
To know something with “certainty” is often the beginning of discussions in which the egos of the participants trump the issues. If you anticipate that a meeting will become testy, setting a framework and rules for the discussion will often help. It should be agreed upon in advance who speaks when and for how long to avoid dominant players. In addition, the need of attentive and active listening should be stressed. Especially if participants’ status differs, such rules help to keep emotions in check. Finally, participants should be made aware of the nature of the issue and the arguments in advance. Things are rarely “crystal clear”. Many discussions focus on complex issues in which inferences and not facts are exchanged. Some modesty is always advised.
 
Some years ago, Robert Burton pointed out in an excellent book that “being right” is just a “feeling of knowledge” and as such hard to cope with in a reasonable manner. Individuals often ignore facts in order to avoid being shaken in their false perception and so they won’t have to change their minds. As a result, there are two problems which arise. First, we are often wrong, and, second, we don’t want to know about it. It is wise to take this insight into account. “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge”, Stephen Hawkins said.