Sunday, March 04, 2007

Owning Your Behavior

Many read books, articles, and stories in the newspaper and magazines and can always pick on someone else as an example a bully or an arrogant individual or an inconsiderate S.O.B. however if the article speaks of something amazing, all the examples seem to be about them, not someone else. They own those wonders and successes. They just won’t own any of what they consider negative aspects of behavior. It’s always someone else.

They’ll speak of these individuals as “they” or “you” or that “other person” or “I know someone who” but it’s never them who hurt or disregarded, abused, ignored or treated with no respect whatsoever. It’s always the other person or what that person assumed or thought… never the truth.

People are so intriguing. If you tell them about someone’s success, they’ll start telling you how they did it, thought of it, or invented it years before. When you tell them of someone who’s an amazing leader they start sharing their personal successes and yet when you share something about passive aggressive behavior, neediness, those who treat others with disregard, disrespect etc, they’ll point out numerous others who they know or heard of who demonstrate those behaviors but they won’t own, or equate themselves with or take responsibility for when they emulate those same behaviors. If they don’t own them, then they won’t have to do anything about them.

Just as fascinating is when they can’t understand why others won’t put up with them and their behavior any longer for it’s always someone else’s fault, their impressions, assumptions. It’s never them.

Why is that exactly?

Because if they do take ownership of inappropriate ways of being and not do anything about it, there will be no one to fault other than themselves. They can no longer place blame. They have to own blame.

Next time you find yourself saying something like “If you feel I did something hurtful then I’m sorry” or “I understand that you might think that and interpret it that way” you’re relinquishing all responsibility for your actions, words, ways of being and pretty much saying “I have no intention of doing anything about it so if you feel badly I’m sorry but nothing will change.”

Responding as such is indicative enough. If you want to be a part of a team, then pay attention to your behavior good and bad and own both, and if you’re in a personal relationship with someone who openly shares a hurt or a want and throw it back by saying something that minimizes it and shows you really don’t care enough to do anything about it, then you’ll be left by the wayside. Before you know it people will come and quickly go and leave you in a world of blamelessness and no responsibility of actions. You won’t need either if you have no one in your life other than you.

Tossing people away, well there are many ways to do that…through silence, indifference, and not taking responsibility for anything hurtful you do. It’s easy to give lip service to someone but what you do with your words and promises will be the proof of the pudding so to speak. Promising change in the workplace and not living up to it, allowing inappropriate behavior to continue will ensure a mass exodus of all the talent. Doing the same in your personal life will ensure you won’t have one at all.

Food for thought or even better, food for action!

Donna Karlin

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