Developmental Communication: Finding Right vs. Being Right


 A monthly leadership blog focused on transformational business leadership and developmental communication, courtesy of and authored by Phil Henderson.

What brings you a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction: being right or finding right? Your answer could be, “Neither, I’m all about getting it right”.

It’s difficult to argue with getting it right. With that said, ask yourself if you tend to have a stronger desire to “be right” or “find right.”

Your answer is an indicator of the communication environment you’ve likely created. A desire to “find right” will draw others in, while a desire to “be right” will tend to keep others at a distance, and even possibly push them away.

There are certain times of crisis when a decision, or series of decisions, must be made with little or no notice – where communication must be top-down and immediate, from one voice and one perspective. In emergency situations do just that, but if that describes how the business typically ‘operates and gets things done’ then it isn’t developing leaders, creating a more capable organization or practicing Transformational ‘other-focused’ Leadership.

Practicing leadership inherently means practicing communication, and practicing anything inherently means getting better at it.

Communication improves when participants are comfortable sharing knowledge and information with the leader, and with one another. The authors of Crucial Conversations describe this as contributing to the “Pool of Shared Meaning”.

Create a cadence of dialogue in meetings and conversations with an ebb and flow of information-sharing/gathering and decision-making.

Our words, facial expressions, and body language indicate our presence in conversations, meetings, and less formal gatherings. We’re at our best when we’re in the moment; we aren’t merely present, we have a presence. Even more importantly, it’s essential for others to know you’re in the moment –  that you’re dialed-in and present.

What does “having a presence” look like?

Effective Listening:

    • Eye contact
    • Nodding 

Questioning or Following-Up:

    • “Help me understand?”
    • “Tell me more?”
    • Paraphrasing what was said

“Listen as hard as we typically dare to speak”, Brene Brown – Dare to Lead

Give others the opportunity to have a presence and lead. “Finding right” with and through others should be an important part of your developmental communication and company culture.

transformational; organization; leadership; Phil HendersonPhil Henderson is a former Regional VP of Manufacturing Operations at Harland Clarke Holdings. He is as a Designer of Self-Directed, Team-Based Work Systems in manufacturing environments over the course of 26 years. He served 8 years as an Air Traffic Controller and Officer in the US Army, and with distinction as a Captain in the First Gulf War. He currently provides leadership development and self-directed work team design assistance to Trenton Forging. For inquiries, Phil may be reached at (210) 316-3212 or at