Managers: Allow Yourself to be Wrong

This may be the toughest piece of advice I can give you. But, it’s one that can help strengthen your team’s resolve, and make them more receptive to your leadership.

It’s okay to be wrong.

Go ahead. Read that sentence again. Say it out lout to yourself. Make sure you note all of the punctuation.

Yes, being wrong is frustrating. At times, it’s embarrassing. However, there are many benefits from showing enough vulnerability and having the gusto to admit that you were wrong about something.

It can be as small as misplacing a commonly used item, or admitting to being the one who threw something away. Or, it can be bigger, like admitting the special you recommended for tonight’s dinner service is just boring.

But, why is it so hard to be wrong in the first place?

Psychologist Dr. Mark Goulston, who advises CEO’s and business executives about deep listening and influence, argues that our brains are not wired to be wrong. The more rigidly your thinking, emotional, and fight/flight brain are wired to achieve a goal, the harder it will be for you to accept being wrong, he says.

So, what does this have to do with the restaurant industry?

When we work in restaurants, all three brains are actively participating. We use our emotional brain to form a sense of team; we use our thinking brain for its organizational skills during service; and, we use our fight or flight brain to assess the moods of both our teammates and our customers.

For managers, the ability to be wrong shows your team that your focused on the overall goal of completing service without hiccups instead of being focused on just your opinion.

Being wrong shows that you’re open to other people’s solutions. This allows both solutions and creativity to flourish within the team. Once that happens, your employees will be much more receptive to your leadership because they know you value you them for their intellectual qualities, and not just their work ethic. 


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