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Defensiveness and Blame have taken away our power…

Judy Ditchfield 

The more I work in organisations, the more I realise how we have moved towards a culture of defensiveness and blame.

Ooh….did that statement make you uncomfortable? Did it trigger you to want to defend yourself?

Well if it did, that is okay, because you are responding as most would. It has almost become an industry standard! Now, I know it’s tough out there. We have critical bosses; we have huge demands to deliver and then there is the ever present “career limiting” thoughts that we keep to ourselves rather than own. So, instead of having a robust, adult to adult conversation we head straight to defend ourselves and blame everyone outside of ourselves. ”It’s that division! We are always late because they don’t deliver; I can’t do my work if the goal posts change constantly; The organisation expects too much from us; If the management only knew what we were dealing with…….”  Sound familiar?

This has resulted in us developing a culture of blame, and defensiveness, and as a result a lack of accountability and ownership. Now here is the thing: As long as we see a problem as outside of ourselves and something someone else needs to solve, it renders us powerless to change it.

Let’s think about that? If it is someone else causing things to not work for us, how do we change the status quo? Well we can tell them they need to fix it, but that’s unlikely to get anything changing. You do not have control over their behaviour. The only control you have is over your own. It’s the whole circle of influence thing.  We spend all our time fighting about things we have absolutely no control over. The only real control we have is over ourselves; our words, our behaviour, our action.

I was speaking to a team recently and they mentioned that no matter how much they told a different division that they were working with, that things needed to improve, they were getting a negative response and absolutely no action. I asked them how they had approached them. They said they had made it very clear what they needed from them and what timelines were required. I then asked them to give me an indication of what the other divisions needs and challenges were. They had no clue. In their determination to see the others as the problem and the reason they couldn’t function, they had stopped listening and started parenting their colleagues. Their response was exactly based on how they had been treated. Yip, they started acting like children – oh and yes, they also blamed the team I was working with. And the status quo remained as is. I challenged the team to change their approach. I suggested that they meet up, and instead of blame and telling them what to do, they actually approach it differently. They did. They asked them what they could do differently to support them to deliver. And suddenly they started to deliver and on time. They now have a win-win situation.

So, my challenge to you is this. Get out of a blame and defensive mindset and see what you can start doing differently to get a different result. Take your power back to make a difference. The outcomes I guarantee, will astound you!!!!!

Good luck!