All of us at some stage will face those difficult conversations, those pointy ended discussions that we would rather avoid than deal with. And in these conversations it is so easy to blame others and not take ownership for our own contribution when dealing with these difficult situations or with people we find challenging. Stephen Covey said that “while we cannot control what happens to us, we can control our thoughts and reactions to what is happening to us”. We often attribute the cause of a problem to the behaviours of others. Such as “he or she made me feel really angry”. Or “He or she is not listening to my point of view”. The key here to moving forward is to recognise that we cannot control another person’s behaviour, but we can choose our thoughts, how we respond and how we react to their behaviour.
If we want to be more effective in our communication in the workplace and in our personal lives we need to take responsibility for our communication. We can choose to respond in a calm and neutral way rather than react negatively and angrily. Stephen Covey defines reasonable as “response able”. We have the ability to respond to what happens to us in a way that we choose. We are therefore responsible for the way we communicate with others.
So the next time you face a difficult conversation, don’t play the blame game, rather take responsibility and be responsible for how you respond.