Leadership Skills – Taking responsibility for our own choices and learning to stop playing the Blaming Game

Life is complex, difficult and confusing. There are no certain formulas or easy answers. Life is a journey full or twists and turns. Life is a miracle. A big part of mastering the art of living and of becoming an inspiring Leader revolves around:

Taking responsibility for our own choices and learning to stop playing the blaming game.

Life and business are complex. Each of us must find our own way trough the maze of opportunities and setbacks; what works for one may not work for another. Many books, theories and training programs have been developed over the years on how to best deal with life and become an innovative leader at the work place. It can be exhausting to just figure out which ideas to embrace and which practices to adopt.

However, there are some pitfalls that can be avoided once we become aware of how ineffective certain attitudes are. One of the biggest time wasters in any situation is playing what I call the 'BLAMING GAME’.

We have all played it. 'The reason I don’t feel motivated is that I do not receive enough praise” says the line manager upset…'’I don’t praise you more because of your poor performance over the last 6 months” says the boss angrily. The blaming game is a favorite at the work place.

We spend much of our time blaming others for our mishaps; and blame is always connected to anger. When we get angry and blame someone else for making us angry we automatically shift responsibility for our behaviour to the other person. And by doing so we are putting them in charge of our life; we are giving them the power to determine our behavior. Just take a moment to really take this in. Each time we blame others for our actions we are putting ourselves at their mercy.

When I first fully grasped the implication of this process I had to sit down and take a few deep breaths. How could I stop being a ping -pong ball of other people’s emotions? How could I be in charge of my actions regardless of how someone else was behaving? How could I respond in a way that would be productive and appropriate at the same time? I looked at the times when I had been successful and happy with the way I acted.

I remembered that a few years earlier I had faced some problems in cooperating with one of my bosses. I would discuss his shortcomings with other colleagues and the more I blamed him for our problems the more our working relationship deteriorated, each of us was looking for opportunities to make the other look and feel bad...and this ‘war’ was affecting my life and work negatively. I grew sick and tired of the situation and started to look for alternative ways of how to deal with it.

I started to observe how one of my colleagues approached my boss and suddenly I got it: My colleague was objective. He stated his case and then sat back. He did not let himself get drawn into emotional arguments or cat fights. He was passionate, always arguing for the cause but never insulting the person. And most importantly he did not go around bad mouthing the boss afterwards. I was impressed.

The same day I decided to follow his example. Before each meeting I asked myself what was it that I wanted to achieve and how I wanted to behave. It was difficult at first (old habits die hard), but soon I got the hang of it and ...the fruits of my efforts started to show:

Once I started to take full responsibility for my own decisions and actions and stopped blaming others I started to feel extremely empowered.

Whatever my decisions, good or bad, they were mine; I had made them and I realised that I was able to find creative solutions to most problems. I became solution orientated rather then wasting my time on blaming.This change of attitude on my part also changed my life and the way people responded to me. I started achieving more, feeling better about myself, gaining the respect of others quicker and communicating more clearly.

Blaming others is a fruitless exercise. It gets us nowhere. It makes us sound like the victim. It is tiring and ineffective.Acting with integrity involves taking charge of ones life and taking responsibility for ones own decisions. People make mistakes – so do we, people aren’t perfect – neither are we. People behave badly – there is no reason for us to do the same.

And so I encourage the leaders I coach to acknowledge the good and the bad in themselves and others. To acknowledge the anger and the pain others may cause them... and THEN to take charge, make their decisions and if necessary let go and forgive for their own sake and for their own peace of mind and health.

With my best wishes for your success!

Christiane Pohl

Life & Leadership Coach

Author:. Christiane specialises in coaching Executives and their teams with managing change, achieving their objectives and developing their soft skills for lasting success.She is an EMCC accredited Leadership Coach & Mentor with a professional background of over 25 years experience as Senior Manager in internat... Go Deeper | Website

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