Congratulations – You Were Right, Now Go Away

One of my favorite mind break activities is to take the dogs outside to play for them to burn up all sorts of puppy energy.  Trust me, with a pack of dogs – you do not want them lying around the office all day storing all that energy just for it to all come bursting out sometime in the middle of the night right after you have fallen asleep.

So anyway, as I was running the puppies one of the girls was off to the side eating grass.  Now, before I continue I’m just going to admit that I talk to my dogs.  Ok, not so much talk, more like have conversations.  Whatever, I know they understand and you will soon see why.

I looked over at her and told her to stop eating the grass.  She just looked at me, mid-bite, and continued.  So I told her that it was going to make her sick; and yet she continued.  Being ignored by a dog is such an ego boost, let me tell you.

Several minutes later I hear the tell-tale noises of a dog getting sick.  Big surprise.  So after she hacks up the first round I look over at her and told her, “Told you eating the grass would make you sick.”  At which point she looked at me as if saying, “Seriously, I’m puking here, do you really think I need you to remind me you were right?”  Oh yes, she really did have that look on her face – then she puked again.

That is when the inspiration for my blog came to me today.  I was being that “gotta tell you I was right even though it is clear I was right” kind of people.  Have you ever known someone that was so focused on being right that they loose sight of everything else?  Annoying, aren’t they?  I wasn’t that bad, but bad enough that I was having to emphasize to my dog that I was right.  Sad, I know.

Sometimes you have to work with these kinds of people, sometimes you date them or even marry them – and sometimes you give birth to them.  You know who they are.  When working on a project that their way was outvoted and then turns out the majority vote was wrong they are very vocal and obnoxious in delivering a chorus of “I told you so.”  Joy.

Here is the thing, sometimes we just can’t help but say “I told you so.”  Especially in a personal relationship it is almost a compulsion.  But if you are going to do it, make sure you say your peace then shut the heck up.  Telling someone over and over and over and OVER again that you were right completely looses its effect.

It makes the other person or people dread having to make a joint decision with you.  Not for the fear of being wrong, but for the dread of your never-ending “I told you so.” So lighten up.  Sometimes it is not even necessary for you to point out the obvious – let them puke in peace.

If you have to deal with one of the never-ending “told you so” people and you actually like them then try to help them out.  Find a time away from the issue where you can talk privately.

Next let them know in a positive and non-threatening manner (meaning do not sound frustrated) that it is now understood by all involved that their way should have been followed.  Then in a gentle manner let them know that by them continuing to tell everyone how you were right is coming across as them telling everyone that they were wrong.  People are going to get frustrated and possibly feel ridiculed.  Who wants to work with someone who continually tells them they are wrong?

You might conclude with giving them a little bit of a positive.  For example saying something like “you have a great grasp of what needs to be done and I would hate for people to shy away from coming to you for advice for fear of being ridiculed.”

The offending party may not know that they have crossed the line and how their actions are now affecting others.

Sometimes you cannot have this type of adult conversation with the offending party.  Sometimes they are just a jackass.  Here you have two options: suck it up, ignore them and continue to move forward as a team member.  Second – not always recommended – is to tell them, “Yes, we realize you were right; but now it is time to move forward.”  Blunt is sometimes ok and needed.

But be prepared because if you ever cross the line to become the offending party it is likely someone will let you know.  If you are on the receiving end of the conversation please stop and listen.  Being right isn’t always best.  Sometimes making mistakes together leads to incredible opportunities.  Always be open for opportunities – you never know where they will lead!

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

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