REFLECTION: Ever notice how common is the tendency to share the glory when things go right, but how rare the tendency to shoulder responsibility when things go wrong? This inclination makes me think of the refrain in a very old ‘Horse and Carriage’ tune that says: ‘You can’t have one without the other.”
Maybe you’ve had a few experiences like these over the years:
* A ‘complaining’ friend or colleague regularly rains doom and gloom and pours bad news into every conversation.
* A relationship grows tangled – caught up in hasty communication, missed cues, and unfulfilled promises.
* An employee or colleague struggles to meet expectations and deliver on commitments.
It’s oh so easy to point fingers in any direction other than our own. It’s much tougher to contemplate that we somehow might have contributed to the outcome – for better or for worse.
ACTION: Relationships and results usually live somewhere between us – as a shared responsibility. When we see them this way, we are far more likely to look at situations through a ‘reverse lens’ and ask ourselves questions like these:
* By continuing to offer a listening ear and sympathetic shoulder, might I be enabling nonstop negative conversation?
* When relationships grow tangled, is it possible an action, inaction, or wrong action on my part might be contributing to the problem?
* When expectations aren’t met, could it be that more information, support, direction, or encouragement from my end might have made a difference in the outcome?
A quick check in the mental mirror, just might generate an idea or two for changing our approach. And that shift in approach just might lead to a better outcome in ‘the space between’.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. John C. Maxwell
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: John Izzo’s latest book: “Stepping Up – How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything” Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2012.
For a taste of John’s thinking on this topic, see this article: “It’s Not My Job, It’s Not My Fault (and Other Attitudes that Make You Miserable and Less Successful)“.
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s message, Lucky Day, Pause reader SD writes: This makes me think of when my dad passed away and the adults were all sad and grieving yet my 18 month old son played and was being just a kid. He brought smiles to us in sad times. He didn’t know he should be sad. So when I have a crappy day I go home and play with my kids. I force myself to enjoy their world of fun and soon enough I am doing just that for real. Take care and enjoy your cheese string and don’t forget to sing ‘Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed’.
Tags: attitude, commitment, communication, encouragement, excellence, focus, inspiration, motivation, Pat Katz, Patricia Katz, pause, perspective, productivity, Saskatoon, speaker, stress, success, wellness