How to Work with Someone Who is Always Right

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Imagine this scenario:  A team is busy working on a new goal and all of a sudden, an unexpected obstacle shows up, forcing everyone to stop dead in their tracks. An emergency meeting is called to brainstorm options in order to determine a solution. As each person enters the conference room, they sigh inwardly, wondering how long it will take for “that team member” to have an idea and latch onto it like a dog with a bone, refusing to look at any other suggestions but his own.

It’s hard to work with someone who thinks they are always right.  Ron Carucci and Jarrod Shappel share their expertise in this area in a recent article on Harvard Business Review which discusses people who “suffer from chronic certainty on issues for which no perfect answer exists.”

Chronic certainty occurs for a variety of reasons including individuals who have high track records of making good decisions or hitting goals, company cultures perceiving indecision or uncertainty as a sign of weakness, and sometimes even having a deep feeling of unease in the midst of conflicting views which triggers the need for decisive certainty.

One suggestion Carucci and Shappel made to offset patterns of chronic certainty is to “ask people to come to meetings with pros and cons on issues. And make it a routine to have others on the team weigh in with differing views when making decisions. Approaches like these normalize the need for people to self-regulate, balancing confidence in one’s views without the dogma of certainty.”

To read additional insights within this important topic, click here to access their article.


Developing a team who works well in the midst of uncertainty and has the ability to manage “hard conversations” to find solutions is essential for long-term business success.  If this article was helpful and prompted you with an increased desire to improve your effectiveness as a leader so you can take your team to the next level, contact us to learn more about our Aepiphanni Ascend Leadership Development program.  Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.  Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

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