A few weeks back I was delivering a keynote and one person in the audience went to great lengths to refute a key point I was making. That’s fine – one doesn’t have to agree with my viewpoint that “we are all in sales.” The challenge was that no matter how calmly and rationally I responded with facts, he had a comeback, and another one and so on. Every comeback had less credibility and it ended not with the person agreeing, but getting so lost in the conversation that they gave up. In other words, they were “right fighting”.
The right fighter is the person who places a higher value on being than anything else. This is the person who in the face of overwhelming facts, common sense and realities, persists in the quest to be right. Right above all else. We all have met these people and they are exhausting!
What does the right fighter accomplish? Nothing good.
1. . It’s one thing to be right. It’s quite another to make sure that they are right. Even when they aren’t. This single-minded quest to be right has the direct effect of alienating people and destroying relationships. No one wants to try and converse with someone who is closed to any view point but their own. Nothing satisfying or sustaining about these interactions.
2. . Whatever you are selling, such as this person’s viewpoint, the more you scream that you are right and someone is wrong, the less likely you will close the deal. People don’t take right fighters seriously.
3. The right fighter has a mentality that one person wins (them) and that means that someone loses. They refuse to listen and consider the other people’s perspective. They shut down because the quest to be right is the only thing that matters. A deadly attitude that makes future interactions impossible. They thrive in a “win-lose” world and don’t understand the value of the value of a “win-win”. Ultimately the right fighter loses.
4. . Steven Covey said, “people listen with the intent to reply and not to understand”. Brilliant words if ever there were some. The right fighter doesn’t listen. They hear bits and form their reply before you have a chance finish. They make the original point so muddy and hard to see that eventually everyone wonders what they were trying to say!
5. . The right fighter spends their energy looking for any fault that they can exploit. They are not concerned with details or facts – they take what they can and twist it to make them see…more right!
6. . The right fighter uses the word ‘but” as often as they can. The word but is a bad word because it negates everything that has been said just prior. You should always replace the word but with the word “and”.
7. . The right fighter can’t be a poker player. They use extensive facial expressions such as eye rolling, scrunching up their face in mock disgust and so forth to throw you off.
8. . Most importantly, the right fighter lacks emotional intelligence (EQ) and basic maturity to function in a way that builds credibility and trust. EQ is a must for anyone who is sincere and trustworthy.
The right fighter is not someone who you can have a rational conversation with. They make it very difficult to get along with them. Every conversation where they have to be right just chips a little away from the relationship until there is nothing left.
Please don’t be a right fighter.