Before blaming the other party… take a moment to consider how you may have contributed to the outcome.

When things go awry in the project or relationship, it’s often easier to cast the blame on the other party, then it is to identify the ways we could have acted differently. Taking responsibility for our own shortcomings doesn’t make us feel better; we’re afraid we’ll look bad. But if we fail to identify how we contributed to the problem, how will we keep from doing the same thing again?

If we believe it’s entirely the other party’s fault, and don’t realize we played a part, we’ll miss what we could (and should) be learning from the experience. Yes, they may have made a mistake. But did we train them effectively? Yes, they went over budget. But were we checking in and communicating regularly? Yes, they were a pain to deal with. But did we do due diligence and set firm boundaries at the beginning?

Complaining about the other party may feel good. It takes the spotlight off our own shortcomings. But, does it really help anyone? Will it make us better in the long run? Will it keep us from experiencing the same thing again down the road?

The answer is no.

But if we’re willing to acknowledge how we contributed to the outcome, at least we have an opportunity to grow from the experience. This may not fix the current situation, but at least we can learn from it and be better prepared for the future—something simply blaming the other party will never do.