“It wasn’t my fault. I blew up because I had the worst day.”

“Anyone would have reacted the way I did.”

When you lose your temper, shut down, or behave badly in other ways, you may feel tempted to rationalize your behavior. It can feel right to pin responsibility for your reactions on the other person or to attribute them to the situation.

When you do, you hide from the truth. You said what you said. You did what you did. You own responsibility for what you say, how you feel and the actions you take. When you admit how you contribute to problems, you win.

Owning = winning

Consider the difference:

  • “I did it” versus “you made me do it.”
  • “I don’t like sarcasm” versus “you’re too sarcastic.”
  • “I was angry” versus “you made me angry.”
  • “I don’t like your actions” versus “if you had any respect for me, you wouldn’t have done that”.

Which sounds stronger? Which feels more powerful? 

When you own the part you play in initiating, maintaining, or aggravating an unresolved or escalating conflict, you increase your chances to successfully resolve any conflict. Accepting responsibility frees you to chip away at the portions of the problem you claim as yours. When you instead attribute your feelings to another or blame the other person, you give them responsibility for fixing the situation.

Owning 101

If you want to take ownership, ask yourself these questions:

  • What could I be doing differently right now?
    • What am I feeling and where did that feeling come from?
    • What support do I need to give myself?
    • What conversations do I need to have with this other person? With myself?
    • Where am I getting stuck? What am I struggling with understanding or doing?
    • What fears do I need to address?
    • What part of my mindset do I need to challenge?
    • What do I need to learn about myself?
    • What will I do differently next time?

Don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to turn things around. Own your piece of the action.  

If you liked this post, you might enjoy https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/07/addressing-conflict-what-stops-you/ or https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/06/conflict-management-strategies-for-handling-the-emotional-roller-coaster/ or my latest book, Managing for Accountability, https://bit.ly/3CTFTKV which explores personal accountability along with ways to create an accountable culture.

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4 thoughts on “Own Your Piece of the Action

  1. You’ve posted a dream answer to a perpetual question. And your answer is RIGHT ON!

    Buy it, own it, deal with it, and it’s going to go away. You’ll learn from it that to avoid it you just have to not do it again.

    Deny it, put off the blame on anyone/anything else, ignore or pass it off, and it’s going to haunt you for the rest of your life. You’ll probably repeat the action again, thinking it worked. But it didn’t.

    This is another form of “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time…how are you going to find time to do it over, to fix it.”

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