Stop the Blame Game During Difficult Conversations

November 18, 2020

Difficult Conversations are common occurrences in both personal and professional relationships. These conversations, if done appropriately, can strengthen a relationship and build trust. Unfortunately, it is normal for these conversations to begin by blaming the other party for what has or is going wrong but starting with blame will likely end with hurt feelings and no path toward a solution.

At the Belmont Center for Executive Education, we recommend preparing for your difficult conversation prior to engaging with the other individual/s. When planning and considering how you want the conversation to go, it is important to remember that focusing on blame is a bad idea.

Blame makes the other person feel judged. Consider your own experiences of feeling blame or judgement. Were you able to have a productive conversation or did you focus on defending yourself? The blame conversation keeps us from learning what is really causing the problem and brainstorming a solution to correct it. Instead of blaming, take the time to map out the contribution system that led to the situation.

Contribution allows us to understand how we got to where we are and considers not only the other person’s actions, but ours as well. Take the time to write out from your perspective how each of you contributed to the problem and once those are identified think about how you can change it.

The contribution system method allows us to move from a difficult conversation to a learning conversation. In learning conversations, we are inquisitive about the other person’s interpretations and conclusions about the situation. If you begin with blame, the dialogue will never move past arguing over who is right or wrong and a true solution will always be out of reach.

Are you interested in learning more about how to engage in Difficult Conversations? The Center for Executive Education offers a virtual leadership program and executive coaching sessions to help professionals prepare and engage in difficult conversations.  Click HERE to request more information.

ABOUT THE BELMONT CENTER FOR EXECUTIVE EDUCATION: The Center engages learners in a way that makes a significant difference in their development, behaviors and results. We develop effective leaders and employees in order to improve the results of our client organizations and the career success, satisfaction and significance of the individuals we serve.