Leaders sometimes think that being stubborn is the same as being right about something. They hang on to their position no matter what happens because they just don’t see any other option. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this behavior but it does affect the leader and team involved; usually in less than positive ways. Here’s a couple of things to think about if you know someone who is amazingly stubborn.
Being Stubborn is a Defense Mechanism
People who are stubborn hang on to their beliefs at all costs because they feel they are defending something very important. Even if the issue doesn’t seem important to others, it is to them. People in this situation frequently believe that if they give up their position, something terrible will happen.
Being Stubborn is a Dead End Street
Once someone decides to be stubborn they have painted themselves into a corner because they severely limit any options to fix anything. They hang onto their point of view no matter what and literally can’t explore other options because they don’t allow for any.
What is Right?
Stubborn people frequently think they are right but, if you think about it, what’s right and what’s wrong? We can usually measure what’s right by whether the results of a given behavior leads to positive outcomes. Yet most stubborn behavior just leads to entrenchment. I’m not certain most people would say that being stuck is the same as being right or happy.
So What Can We Do?
Stubbornness can be a daunting challenge. Some people are so stubborn that they will live a miserable life just to prove their point. The only real way to alleviate stubbornness is for someone to get help to interrupt the behavior patterns and beliefs that lead to the current situation. There’s not much other people can do except make themselves available to talk with the person and set limits and boundaries.
Being stubborn rarely leads to positive results and it isn’t very effective at creating inspiring workplaces. The good news is that the cycle can be interrupted by taking a good look at oneself and slightly shifting the behaviors that lead to being stubborn. The result? Greater happiness and more successful leaders.