Jan. 2010: Regulating Blame Through Self-ObservationJanuary 1, 2010
Blaming might be the most prolific form of immaturity in the world today. It can be found on every continent, and in every race, gender, tribe, business and family.
Emotional maturity is defined as the willingness to take responsibility for one’s own thinking, feeling, behavior and destiny, without blaming others or the circumstances. Thus, blame is associated with emotional immaturity.
Higher maturity groups and individuals blame less often and less intensely; lower maturity groups and individuals blame more vigorously and more frequently.
One way out of the blame game is to keep the focus on self.
Here’s a story about blame and self-observation. After I tell the story, I will ask you to do an experiment in your own life and report to me, if you’re willing, on the results.
First, the story:
The characters: James is a vice president of a large commercial real estate company headquartered in the Midwest. Alan is a senior vice president in the same company. James does not report to Alan, but they work closely on a few projects.
The scene: A face-to-face coaching session with myself (the coach) and James (the coachee).
James: I’m having a hard time with Alan.
Engels: What’s up?
Alan’s a member of a five-person committee that reviews all new hire requests. That committee gets the final say about which departments get approved for new hires. I think he’s taking advantage of his position.
He tends to hire the people he wants for his own department. I am not on the hiring committee, and it just so happens I keep getting shut down for new hires. It’s blatantly unfair.
Do you know for a fact he is getting special treatment?
No, but I strongly suspect it.
Can I ask you a question?
If you were being totally honest, can you think of any privilege you enjoy as vice president that others in the organization don’t have?
Actually one thing comes quickly to mind. When my blackberry crashes or needs repair, the IT Dept. puts me at the top of the list and the repair takes less than 24 hours. Others have to wait up to two weeks. That’s one example I can think of.
Does it bother you that you get special treatment?
(laughing) It hasn’t until now!
Do you think if you were in Alan’s position, you would accept certain privileges the way you do in your current position?
I see where you’re going. Yes, I probably would.
If Alan is getting special treatment, and you say you are also getting special treatment…
I haven’t thought about it that way. I need to think more about that.
Sounds good. Can you let me know what you come up with?
Inside the coach’s head: I find myself wondering if James has any interest in scrutinizing the special treatment he enjoys…
Now, here’s the experiment:
Bring to mind someone you tend to blame. Be as specific as you can about what you blame them for. Let’s say you tend to blame them because:
That person just doesn’t get it, or
That person doesn’t carry their own weight, or,
That person is egotistical.
Next, look thoroughly at your own life, work and relationships to see if you can find a situation where:
You just don’t get it, or,
You haven’t carried your own weight, or,
You acted or spoke in an egotistical manner.
After you do a sincere and through search to find in yourself what you despise in another, I would like to hear from you.
Please comment (anonymously, if you wish) on this blogsite, or email me privately at John@LeadershipCoachingInc.com.
Let me know what you come up with.
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