It’s not always your fault but it is always your responsibility

I had the privilege to attend a workshop that was held by Richard Mullender. He’s been previously a hostage negotiator and is now the head coach for the hostage negotiatiors of Scotland Yard. He was brilliant and there’s so much I’d like to share with you.

But I need to start with two thoughts that I have tried to live by and that he confirmed:

1. Assume it is your fault.
2. Even if it is not your fault, it is still your responsibility

What is?

  • The person you’re talking to didn’t undestand your sentence? Assume it was your fault.
  • Did you give advice to your colleague and still he didn’t manage to do the job? Assume it was your fault.
  • Did you get into a fight and the other is unmistakably wrong? It is still your responsibility to deal with the situation.
  • Did some kind of misunderstanding occur? Assume it was your fault and take responsibility.
  • Is client unhappy? Take responsibility and deal with it.

Doesn’t sound fair?

Surprise! Life is not fair at all. But if you will not assume that you had at least partial fault in the matter nor will you take responsibility for it, you just give away the power. You let the other person have the control of how things will turn up. And the less you have control over the things in your life, the more you are at the mercy of the emotions and situations (of others).

I got a humorous response in Twitter.

Of course it is a joke. But let’s pretend for a second that it is not. If your reactions are dependent on how well others are able to control their stupidity, who leads the situation? Who will determine how things will go? Who has the ability to affect the situation or the outcome?

Yeah but I’d rather argue!

Then there’s the possibility that you think: “what if I don’t want to fix the situation and take responsibility”. What if I rather keep my pride and my dignity than have control over the situation and make things better? What if I’d rather fight than give in?

Well, in that case one must ask what it is that you want to achieve in life. If you make a guess, who will get the most challenging projects, the most precious accounts, the best job offers and the promotions? Probably not to the one who cannot settle arguments, keep people around them happy and be the bigger person.

It sure is not fun. Being responsible in a situation where you’d really rather point a finger eats you up. But the one who concentrates winning the battles rarely wins the war. And you don’t get medals for winning battles in any field in life.

Argue with me by leaving a comment!

Or what do you think?

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