Fix Problems, not blame
edited: Tuesday, August 19, 2003
By jing javier
Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2003
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Have you ever noticed how your perceptions and those of others often don’t match?
How do you respond to someone who is so attached to being right that they pay little attention to the possibility that you could also be right?
Self-confident people drift into right-wrong thinking occasionally. Perhaps it springs from our human need for acceptance, validation and understanding…to maintain self-respect and dignity in the face of make-wrong attacks. It probably gets augmented in the workplace by pressure to be decisive, or from the intense desire to succeed. However, the root cause is not pursuing these interests but rather in the belief that in order to be right, someone else has to be wrong.
Teamwork helps deal with differences. It is necessary and usually advantageous at work. Teamwork provides the most tactful way of building accountability, trust and safety.
But what makes Teamwork possible in the first place?
Some people have a habit of making up much of what they "know", which can lead to communication breakdowns or patterns of conflict and tension. It invites conflict and quickly blocks effective dialogue, stifles creativity, dampens enthusiasm---killing the will to cooperate. Despite the best of intentions, a conversion that assumes someone must be proven wrong automatically prevents us from getting results we most want: to be understood, to learn something new, or get something done.
Communication is based on the response we get from the other person. It is pointless to insist on something that is lost on the listener, especially when the response you get is entirely separate from your intent. Wouldn’t it be useful to find out where you both stand rather than being lost in interpretation?
Integrity implies knowing if your communication is based in objective fact, your opinion, or blending of both. You show integrity when you assert what you know, and by daring to admit what you don’t know. Have the nerve to say what must be said, and you temper it with consideration for the listener, so the communication remains two-way.
Consideration, as a sign of respect, is taking into account the other person’s needs and wants, their present situation, and you step in their shoes. The more considerate you are, the more tough-minded and courageous you can be without breaking rapport. Considerate also means listening so carefully that you can make requests and offers in ways the fit for the other person.
Consistency is the basis for being seen as reliable, dependable, and trustworthy. Treat everyone the same. Be consistent, not arbitrary or biased in your business relations.
Rapport is the condition of being in sync, in tune, on the same wavelength. It is needed to coordinate action and exchange information. Working with others produces the desired results only when we move at the right speed, at the right times.
As a professional, do you put the company’s interests ahead of personalities and egos? When mistakes are made, do you focus on learning, on closing the gap between principles and practice?
Blaming others when things go wrong gives us the illusion of control. On the other hand, if we assume too much personal responsibility, the load gets unbearably heavy.
The best way to manage when things go wrong is to identify areas of share responsibility and get to an agreement about consequences we all want to avoid and what we are going to do about it now. Rehashing the past is pointless and an energy drain.