In relationships, both good and bad, we need to understand our impact and take responsibility for the outcomes and the state of the relationship.
In good relationships, we always believe that it’s our contribution that’s important and makes the relationship work well.
Whereas in bad relationships, we always believe that it’s the fault of the other person, it’s their contribution that spoils the relationship.
It’s never our fault, we always try our best, and we are always willing to compromise, do whatever it takes.
How can it be, that we are responsible for everything that is good, yet it’s the other person who is responsible when things go bad?
Here we are deceiving ourselves, and it’s this self-deception that stops us from taking responsibility, which then limits our ability to repair the relationship.
Responsible, means we are able to respond, however when we don’t accept responsibility, it implies that we are unable to respond, and when we are unable to respond we are unable to take action to repair the relationship.
It’s true that not 100% of bad relationships are our fault, but it’s also true that 100% cannot be the fault of the other person either.
As leaders we need to ensure that we have the trust of our people, and this is unlikely if we have bad relationships, and given we are the senior person in the relationship, it’s our job to repair the relationship.
We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the other person and examine our behavior openly and see whether there is anything we are doing which could be causing the relationship issues.
We should just accept that it is our fault, and then look to see what we could do to repair it. Make it our responsibility, when we do this then we are able to respond, able to make changes which may improve the relationship.
Many people will think of this as weak behavior, but it takes a strong character to admit that they are wrong, that they have made mistakes, that they will take responsibility to repair the relationship.
In fact, the weaker behavior is to blame the other person and leave the relationship to the other person to repair.
I can honestly say that this is tough advise to follow, and I don’t always succeed, it’s much easier to blame others and live in a state of self deception, but that will never help us repair the situation.
We might not be able to turn all bad relationships into good relationships, but we may be able to improve them.
We need to be able to see through this self-deception in order to take responsibility.