From the outside, the manager of a company may appear to be an omnipotent figure. The one who has more experience and who knows how to coordinate and manage different problematic situations for the same company, but who cannot always make safe and correct decisions. He or she may fail or be confused and not quite know what to do. However, one of these options has been punished more than the other
In the business world, it is often said that it is better to be wrong than confused. Put like that, we might all agree, but the problem with such arguments is that they are often made by managers who prefer to defend their mistakes by saying that it is better to be found out over time that they were not right, and by emphasising that being confused is much worse than being wrong. But in business, much worse than confusion (which in many cases and temporarily may be necessary and unavoidable), is the determination to stay in the wrong for too long and not wanting to see reason to get out of it. Justifying the error is much worse than the confusion, and also does not make us evolve in the rationality that we need so much. And it may happen that we have employees who are tired of repeating arguments that cry out to heaven and that would allow us to get out of the chaos (confusion), and out of the error, at the same time.
- Moving from error to personal evolution
Defending that I have every right to be wrong and that it is all right if I am wrong is a truism. And to defend it stubbornly enters the realm of the most absurd irrationality. In the short term, it can be argued that I would rather believe in something, and come to the conclusion that it makes no sense, than live in confusion without having any formed opinion because I lack information. But living in error should be an accidental matter, a transitory state while I gather more information to see if I have to continue in the same error, or if I can change my state and evolve towards a better truth. The problem is that many managers, especially those who have been successful and believe that success has been theirs alone, would rather be comfortably wrong than go through a period of inner turmoil, sharing with others and accepting new things.
As individuals, and even more so if we impact on others, we should want to pursue options that bring us as close as possible to the truth. Accepting that it will never be achieved, but trying. We have to keep in mind that it is very likely that in the short term we will find ourselves in the wrong situation, but if we are really interested in understanding what is around us, we should not want to establish our residence for too long. The mistake should become an experimentation. We try out options that seem reasonable to us and see as a team if they work for us. If they don’t, that’s fine, we move on to other options. Error and confusion should be transitory.
In improving rationality, both error and confusion have their mission. But error should not be preferred over confusion. Walking towards authenticity and managerial maturity is not done by prioritising error over confusion, but by seeing in each case whether one is confused or mistaken. And trusting others, because in a team it is easier to overcome confusion and unnecessary mistakes.
- Making mistakes is also a necessary factor
It should also be kept in mind that decision-making in companies is often based on finding options and giving arguments for and against them. Most often, the decision-maker has his or her own preferences, based on his or her professional background, life experience and also on subjective questions that may have more or less rational support. It is necessary that one knows oneself and knows what preferences one has and what they are based on, seeing the advantages and disadvantages of following them. This implies a certain process of professional maturation based on doing, failing and starting again. Knowing the pros and cons will sometimes lead to a change of mind, but at others it will only make us aware that our preferred option must be faced realistically. This decision process, with options and knowing our preferences, what they are based on, examining the strengths and weaknesses they have, is the most complete decision making process.
We must strive to resolve confusions, but above all without being stranded in our right to be wrong: it has been shown that managers are hardly ever denied this right. While sometimes these same managers deny any experimentation to their employees. Whether they create mistakes or not. Managers should encourage experimentation, giving their people (and themselves) the confidence to accept error, but without over-entertaining. Without dawdling too much – being confused is not the worst thing, being knowingly wrong for too long is!