It’s Good. That’s the answer. There are always circumstances that will dictate whether there has been a positive or negative effect from changing your mind, but let’s look at this question from the general position of, should one be open to changing their mind. And from this perspective, the answer is unequivocally yes!
In politics, this is called flip-flopping. A term flung around like it’s a disease. In real life, being open to the possibility that your initial position is wrong, takes much more strength than stubbornly grasping to that position. Not to say this is an easy task. Our decisions are based on many things that we don’t always understand, outside of some experts in the field. Personally, I struggle with this as much as anyone, although as of late I have been making a deliberate attempt to get better at it.
What positive effect does changing your mind have? The first thing it tells them is that you are willing to listen. This is a vital skill for a leader. The ability to listen to the people you lead and the humility to let them change your mind cannot be understated. I’ve experienced situations from both sides of this problem and can tell you that feeling like your leaders are listening to you gives you a great sense of belonging, says you have a voice and encourages engagement from the team members.
Changing one’s mind must be tempered to ensure you don’t actually become a leader that can’t stick to a decision. Going back and forth is detrimental any organization. There should be a point that a decision has been made and the group moves on. Then the decision can be readdressed later if the situation changes or the results of the last decision were not positive.
What negative effect does changing your mind have? I previously had a boss that had zero original ideas and never made a decision until he could get some sort of consensus. His decision-making capabilities don’t sound so bad as I type it, but trust me; he was a “go with the popular opinion” type of boss. There were so many occasions where a person would have a conversation with him, and there would be an agreement only to find out they changed their mind after talking to someone else. It was almost a game to try to be the last one to talk to him before the decision had to be made.
Be wary of phrases like ‘That’s the way we have always done it’ or ‘We tried that before, and it didn’t work.’ These are indicators that the culture of your organization does not embrace change. Which probably means your leaders are not open to changing their minds. It’s time to have these kinds of conversations in our workplace and show how being open to new options and changing a decision does not automatically translate to a negative.