How to Win Any Argument

Anytime there is a conflict of interest, disagreement or misunderstanding there is an argument. The argument may only be in your mind, but it’s there nonetheless. The one element that keeps the argument in place is the need to be right. The drama perspective is to see things from your own point of view and in doing so, make assumptions and judgments sure to help you maintain the position of rightness.

We all suffer from this dilemma, and I hate to admit that I’m in the same boat as every other human being. Bringing the issue to light can help all of us recognize the game of winning every time is a game that ensures you lose in the end. Here are seven ways we try to win every argument:

1. Judge the other person to be clueless.

2. Label the other person as crazy; unreasonable; an idiot.

3. Find their biggest flaw and focus on that instead of the matter at hand.

4. Compare them with others who see it differently.

5. Get defensive when they display their need to be right.

6. Come up with witty come-backs just in case they get out of line next time.

7. Gossip about them in hopes to get a little more agreement about their inadequacies.

People will do just about anything to be right, including ending a relationship just because the relationship is uncomfortable. Being right is more comfortable than resting in the unknown, considering that you might be wrong, or doing the extra work to gain understanding.

The problem with being right all the time is you don’t get to practice useful skills that would benefit you in the future. You don’t learn how to be curious,  to live with uncertainty,  to listen to be patient, or to forgive.

To be fair, these habits are the ways we process information to try to make peace, close the loop or understand why people do what they do. With self-awareness we can change patterns, look at these situations from an enlightened perspective, and become more productive. Through awareness and enlightened choice, we can bypass all the time-wasting workplace drama that comes with the need to be right.

In a nutshell, when your energy is focused on the need to be right, you don’t get to learn and you don’t get to grow. The need to be right feeds the ego, but the willingness to be wrong changes a culture.

MMarlene-Blk4arlene Chism is an executive educator, consultant, and author of Stop Workplace Drama, (Wiley 2011) and No-Drama Leadership (Bibliomotion 2015). She works with executives, and high-performing leaders who want to transform culture in the workplace. To explore opportunities please email