What if I am Part of the Problem?

One of the key commonalities in difficult or strained relationships is that we tend to believe that the OTHER person is the source of the problem.

We often focus our attention on what they've done or who they are, when it is a larger dynamic, including our own feelings and perceptions that need to be addressed.

We see ourselves as the comic book victim in a thinly veiled story, and we divert attention from our own part in creating or sustaining the problem

This robs us of our power.

In the past week, I have heard all of the following remarks in conversations I’ve had regarding trust and relationships at work. 

  • “My boss is such a micro-manager” 
  • “My co-worker doesn’t appreciate me” 
  • “My colleague takes credit for my work” 
  • “My employee shows me no respect” 
  • “That person has zero work ethic” 
  • “He is so entitled and he literally thinks the rest of us are here to serve him” 
  • “She is so moody and unpredictable, it makes it hard to do our work”

Do you notice how all of these comments- regardless of whether or not they can be shown to be factual - position the OTHER person as the source of the problem?  

Just like in any comic book story, you are the villain, and I am the victim.

When we focus our attention solely on the other person and how they are annoying or harming us, we blind ourselves to our own feelings and needs, to our role in the situation, and to the things that we can do to make the situation better. 

What if each of the statements above was followed or replaced by some introspection and personal accountability? Those same situations might sound like this…

  • “It feels like my boss is being a micro-manager. I wonder how I can do a better job of lettering her know what I’m working on and the progress I’m making.” 
  • “It feels like my co-worker doesn’t appreciate me. I think I’ll talk with him about what I’ve been working on to make sure he knows.” 
  • “My colleague just took credit for my work. That worries me in this time of staff reductions. I’m going to raise this issue with her so she understands how I feel.” 
  • “When my employee tells me one thing and does another, I feel disrespected. How am I contributing to this climate between us?” 
  • “It seems like that person doesn’t want to work very hard. Maybe there is something else going on.” 
  • “I’m upset when he asks me to do the administrative work. It’s no more my job than his. I’m going to set a better boundary and talk about our roles and responsibilities.” 
  • “Gosh, it’s hard for me when her moods swing. I need to take a few deep breaths and try to be more compassionate. She’s probably having a hard day.” 

Bottom line, when I am focused on the OTHER PERSON being the source of my pain and not bothering to examine my role, I’m distorting the image and giving them too much credit and too much power. 

Instead, try this…

  1. Pause.
  2. Take a deep breath. 
  3. Check-in with yourself
  4. And broaden your frame of reference. 
  5. Acknowledge your own feelings, fears, needs, and judgments, and then consider what YOU can do to improve the situation. 

Ready to dig in and create healthy, high-trust relationships? 

Get started today by joining the Building a High Trust Workplace course. 

In this course, you’ll learn about the dynamics of trust and why restoring trust can be so difficult once we get into a negative spiral. 

You’ll also learn the fundamental self-awareness and communication skills that you need to improve all of your relationships, and to restore and repair trust with others. 

Yes, it’s called Building a High Trust Workplace but make no mistake- what you learn in this course will apply to every relationship in your life. 

People who have joined me on this journey report immediate improvements in their relationships, and a renewed sense of satisfaction at work as they start to see the world anew and bring with more compassion and a clearer view to every interaction. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to move proactively into stronger relationships and a clearer view of the world? 

Join here

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