A wise person once said:, “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
Of course, it’s easier said than done though. Especially when you have a decision or opinion challenged and you have to defend yourself – sometimes to the point it stops making sense.
If you’ve ever watched bemused as a co-worker becomes so entrenched in their position that they argue against their best interest, you know how destructive this tendency can be.
If you ever find yourself arguing against a good idea, here’s what to do.
Why are You Resisting?
Dig deep to find out where the resistance is coming from. You may be resisting because:
Someone else stole your idea and now you’re arguing against it out of anger
You don’t like the person who came up with the idea in the first place
You’re happy with the way things are and don’t want them to change – even for the better
You feel pressured from your boss or co-workers
You’re enjoying the power of holding up a decision
You don’t want to be responsible if the choice is made
Your sense of self feels threatened
Let’s say a coworker brings in a whizzy new policy management software that is a complete departure from the PDF’s you’ve been uploading to the intranet for years. You may argue against it because you’re comfortable with the way things are or you think you’ll look foolish for backing it if it fails.
Or maybe you’re concerned that it will take you time to learn the software and it is just easier to do your job the way you’ve always done it. Figuring out why you’re arguing against the good idea is the first step.
Watch Yourself Responding
Once you’ve identified why you’re resisting, take a step back and withdraw the emotion. Pretend you are outside of yourself watching as you argue against the good idea. Then try to look at the decision from an entirely logical point of view.
In the case of the new policy management software, ask yourself whether the company has adopted other types of software successfully before. Think about whether the search functions will make it easier for employees to find their local policies, and therefore be more compliant. Consider whether, if the launch were a flop, the policies could still live on the intranet in PDF format like they are now.
Taking the emotion out of it will help you to make a better decision.
Commit to the Right Choice
In the moment, it may hurt your ego to let go of an option you’ve argued for or against. Nevertheless, commit to the better outcome.
Accept that the policy management software is a step up for the company, then volunteer to learn how to manage it. You may get side-eye from your colleagues for a day or two, but, ultimately, you’ll make yourself more valuable in the company by doing so.
Committing to the outcome will help you when doubt creeps in and you want to backtrack.
It can take courage to back down when you’ve committed to a track. Nevertheless, always remember – if you find yourself arguing with a good idea, stop arguing.