Responsibility vs Blame: Part 2

Recently, I’ve been talking with many of my clients about the difference between blaming and assigning responsibility.  This can be a difficult distinction to make, but is a very important one. 

This is the second part of a 2 part series.  Check out the previous post here to get up to speed.

The next time you find yourself in a frustrating situation, take a look at the whole picture rather than just the parts you’re angry about. 

Try to determine if there is any piece that you’re in control of and could take responsibility over, and don’t be afraid to ask the other person to do the same.

Some questions you might ask yourself include:

  1. If I respond in a different way, would the outcome be different?
  2. What am I feeling, and is that impacting how I’m reacting? (examples: defensive, hurt, misunderstood, etc)
  3. Am I expecting someone else to impact something they don’t have control over?

On the other hand, if you’re feeling overwhelmingly guilty about something, try to see if you are taking on the entire responsibility rather than allowing the other party to shoulder their portion.

Ask yourself:

  1. If a friend or family member were in this situation, what would I tell them?
  2. Can I really control the way someone else feels or reacts?
  3. What was my motivation in doing what I did? Was I trying to handle it correctly, or did I have a malicious intent?

Most situations are not one-sided. 

Like the cliche states, it takes two to tango.  It also takes two to step up and resolve issues.  Blame less, own your part, and don’t accept responsibility over things that aren’t yours.

Written by: Molly Halbrooks