Posted by Wendy | Posted in Books, Leadership, quotes | Posted on 13-11-2013
Tags: Books, job, Leadership, People, quotes
I recently recalled this quote from chapter 30 of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when talking about a situation at work:
“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.” ~Slartibartfast
See, I had openly criticized two fellow leaders about their performance. They had not done something and I had…and what better way to point that out, then to make a snide remark in a public setting?
I felt terrible because that’s exactly what I did…and while I may have been “right” (i.e. as fellow leaders they weren’t leading by example), I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy because in that moment I chose myself and my need to be right over the relationship with my peers and the team environment. Let me explain.
“Your happiness can be measured by the quality of your relationships, not your prosperity or your progress. ~Andy Stanley
If life was just about tasks (in this case being right), we would be robots. We wouldn’t have been created or developed in to beings with feelings. We were made for relationships and community. Heck, even in the book Born to Run we learn from evolutionists and anthropologists that one of the primary reasons humans survived and rose to the top of the food chain is through teamwork. The only advantage a hairless biped without fangs had was superior intellect and working as a team. And so, for many reasons, I would rather be a person who chooses relationships over being right.
The foundation for any relationship or team is trust(1). Without trust we are just a group of individuals. With trust, we are a team. By publicly criticizing my peers, I was not creating a healthy team environment. Why would anyone else on the team trust me with their mistakes, fears or failures? Why would anyone choose to be vulnerable, if I would use it as an opportunity to hurt them? And so I not only hurt two relationships with individuals, I fractured the team relationships with everyone else in that room.
So what do you do when the cat is out of the bag? I’ve decided to apologize to the two individuals to whom I directed my snide remark (they graciously forgave me) and am debating emailing the rest of the team to repair the environment I fractured. That’s just me. What do you think?
(1) I can’t take credit for this nugget of wisdom. I learned it from Patrick Lencioni in his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.