All of us at some stage will face those difficult conversations, those pointy ended discussions that we would rather avoid than have to 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. Every difficult conversation, difficult situation has 2 sides and we will always have contributed in one way or the other. Thus, stop blaming others — focus on what you can control — you.
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. Thus, stop blaming others!
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 and not blame others all the time. 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, look at your contribution and be responsible for how you respond.
If you want to know more about Difficult Conversation we are running workshops in Darwin form the 22 to 23 of October: Assertive Communication Skills Workshop on 22 October, Effective Communication Skills on 22 October, Difficult Conversations on 23 October and Thinking and Speaking Off the Cuff on 23 October.