Servant Leadership Workplace-Right

Rather-Win-Than-Be-Right = Danger!

Maybe you work with someone who would rather win than be right.

In the workplace, people like that can be dangerous.

Especially if they are smart.

You might know the type.

It’s the person who, when challenged with a problem, immediately takes charge; does the research; marshals the facts; puts together a compelling case; writes persuasively; speaks authoritatively; lines up supporters; and never seems to give up.

That type of person is impressive.

Except in cases where the person is . . .

. . . WRONG!

Now, I’m quick to add that there is nothing wrong with being wrong.

What’s wrong is when a person would rather win an argument than be right.

And when a rather-win-than-be-right person is smart?


In pursuit of victory, a smart rather-win-than-be-right person can sweep aside healthy debate and dissent. In the face of a rather-win-than-be-right person, alternative arguments don’t get made, better ideas don’t get proposed and important questions don’t get asked.

And sometimes, bad decisions do get made. Bad decisions that could have been avoided.

I don’t like being on a team with a rather-win-than-be-right person, no matter how smart that person may be.

I would rather be on a team with people who are smart – and humble.

Humble people see the good of the company as bigger than their ego needs of winning an argument. Humble people know they can be wrong. For as Mohandas Gandhi says:

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

A humble person – a servant-leader – would rather arrive at the right answer than win an argument.*

What do you think? Would you want a rather-win-than-be-right person on your team who was really smart? Or is that too big a risk?

Let us know.

As always, we appreciate your views. Thanks!


And download our latest ebook, Servant Leadership in the Workplace: A Brief Introduction. It’s free!


* Here are a couple of posts on servant leadership and humility. See what you think:

“4 Reasons Humility is a Cardinal Virtue of Servant Leadership”

“15 Great Quotes About Humility”