Years ago a mentor told me a relationship can only be as healthy as the least effective person in the relationship. How many of you just thought of the ineffective people you interact with on a regular basis?
In order for any of us to have beneficial relationships with others, personally and professionally, we first have to have a great relationship with ourselves, which requires honest self-reflection. Probably everyone reading this has heard this concept and might possibly agree. That is until our own conduct is examined.
In other words, imagine if you were followed and recorded on any given day. What would a playback of that recording show? How would you feel if your competition, your boss, your employees, your parent, your kid saw the footage?
Many people are quick to point out other people’s behavior as issues and miss their own thought or judgment as the culprit. Yes, people in leadership roles; managers, supervisors, coaches, parents etc; have a responsibility to address behaviors in others. Success, however, is determined by the person in the leadership role authentically owning and demonstrating improvement of their own thoughts, words, and actions.
My attendance at a recent workshop netted the following valuable nuggets:
Selfishness is the number one killer of relationships (ALL kinds)
Immaturity is . . .
Expecting others to be perfect – in my experience, many verbally state this to be an untrue belief they hold, yet act otherwise; especially when a person is behaving in a way other than one would like
Sharing confidences or exposing weaknesses of someone
Unwillingness to let things take time
The presenter coined the phrase, “If you don’t do the internal work, the external won’t work!” She also said selfishness is when the adult has left. Anyone besides me ever have moments your adult has left your body? Or maybe, your adult has yet to show up! At any rate, when this occurs, our behavior is determined by our emotions instead of conscious, intentional, and deliberate decision making. The inner work that is absent is self-discipline and the outer result is blaming.
Honest self-reflection is necessary to move beyond blame. In case some of you have yet to do this exercise, be forewarned it often feels like crap! Sorry, that’s the reality. Why do you think people go to great lengths to avoid the process, or start and bail quickly?
Of course it’s easier and less painful to look at others! Using that excuse to prevent looking at self is an indicator of the level of maturity. For example, some will say, “what about what they’re doing?” There are definitely times other people’s behavior are downright inappropriate, yet the key still begins with the willingness and ability to look at oneself without excuses. The ability to look at self, regardless of another’s behavior, is a component of maturity.
Your subordinate is calling you or co-workers names (jerks, idiots are quite common). Do you think/reply, “look who’s talking” or do you ask them to refrain from name calling and shift the conversation to problem solving?
Your co-worker says something sarcastic and stomps away. Do you reply with sarcasm and, or, “chase” after them, or do you uphold your professionalism and resume your responsibilities?
Your significant other forgets to pay a bill or make a reservation. Do you get irate and yell – maybe even take personally, or do you recognize you’ve forgotten important things at times and move forward with next best step?
A shift in mindset from an excuse maker to a recovering excuse maker is the solution. My clients often share they wish they brought in the necessary training sooner and are grateful for the coaching and the 12 Steps of an Excuse Maker/Recovering Excuse Maker tool to help stay the course.
What are blame, negativity/apathy, distractions and interpersonal issues costing you, your team, or your organization? What would be the impact of higher accountability, improved morale, greater focus on priorities or decreased interpersonal issues? Imagine less stress and your bottom line when you get the support needed. Now what action will you take in that direction?
Share your thoughts.