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Killing The Blame Game

blame-gameWhen something happens that shakes the way I see the world, I know it is good material for a blog post.  That’s what happened this week.  Something happened at work and there was plenty of blame to go around.

I didn’t realize the issue was actually blocking me from being a great leader though.  After a session with my Coach, I became clear about something that blew me away.  I was 100% responsible for the situation.  Yes… me.

In the next few minutes, I’m going to tell you what happened, why the issue was a block to greatness, and how you can overcome the same issue when you encounter it.  And believe me… we ALL encounter it.

What’s The Issue?

So there was an issue that popped up from nowhere.  I was working with someone that felt the need to blame me for our working relationship not going so well.

We were cordial with each other and effectively accomplished a lot while working together.  When they were asked by someone else though, they indicated I was not pulling my weight in the working relationship.

I was floored. From my perspective, I was putting far more into the relationship than they were and far more than I should, frankly.

I had a conversation with my Coach about it and I was floored again.  My Coach asked who I thought was responsible for the situation. I told her that I certainly had my part in it, but not all of the responsibility.

With one question from her my thinking and perspective changed… and so did my energy. I went from deflecting and casting blame to looking for ways to own the situation and serve the relationship better.

What did she ask?  I’ll tell you in a moment.  First, we need to get clear on the responsibility thing.

Getting Clear on Responsibility

In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks talks about this exact issue. Who is responsible for a situation between two people? The simple answer is both people.

Not a shocker, right?  But this part was shocking for me.  Both parties are 100% responsible.

How can that be?  Now that I have read the book I actually cannot see any way that it couldn’t be.

If I blame the other person, I have taken the place of “victim”.   Knowing what I do about victim energy (it is a lower frequency and also feels icky) I didn’t like that.  I didn’t realize I was doing playing the victim until I was reminded about it.

If the other person blames me, they are taking the place of the victim and no one has “positive” energy as a result.  We are both caught in a quagmire of downward spiraling that leads to dysfunction.

Someone has to own the situation or be responsible to break the cycle.  The cycle must be broken first before it can be reversed.

That’s when I knew what to do.  I just didn’t know how.  And that is the value of coaching… My Coach asked one simple question.

How To Restore Productivity

Hard to believe that one question can change the way you view an issue. Here is her question.

What is a more anabolic way to approach the issue?

Anabolic simply means more productive and sometimes interpreted as “positive” energy. In the coaching program I’m in we learn to refer to energy as neither positive nor negative… just different.  More in that I’m another post.

The point here is that she moved me from catabolic energy (victim) to an anabolic energy responsibility and service with the question.

By taking 100% responsibility I left victimhood behind. I was able to see that even if the other person stayed there for the moment that the energy had changed.

Then I asked myself how could I better serve the relationship (an even higher energy). When I took the opportunity to re-approach the situation the other person actually began trying to match my higher level of energy by taking responsibility for their actions as well.

The new energy in the relationship got both of us thinking creatively (an even higher energy than responsibility) and we developed a strategy that was sorely needed.

The newly developed strategy was proof that shifting the energy does indeed increase productivity.

Victim to Victor

Moving from victim to victor is not easy, but as you’ve just read, very possible. My Coach was able to use a well-placed question to help me discover what I needed to do.  Once I knew what to do, restoring productivity was simple.

Ryan McKinney

Ryan McKinney

Ryan is a leadership coach, sought after speaker, and transformational workshop facilitator. He works with highly successful business leaders to develop discipline, enhance leadership, and build confidence so they can enjoy the success they deserve without giving up what they want most.

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