7 Avoiding the Responsibility Trap

Responsibility can play a role in conflict in a number of ways. Just as failing to take responsibility can trigger a conflict, so can taking on too much. And trying to make someone else take on responsibility he or she doesn’t want can trigger a conflict, too.

These extremes in taking or giving responsibility can produce conflict because of the reaction they produce in others. When one person fails to take responsibility, others can resent being left with the blame or the work. When someone takes on too much responsibility (and perhaps too much of the credit), others can feel resentful or alienated. And no one likes being held responsible for something he or she didn’t do.

Often such failures of giving away ...

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