Makarios Consulting Blog

O is for Ownership: You Own Yours and I’ll Own Mine (Part 2/4)

Last week we discussed how to Ventilate, the first part of the VOMP (Ventilate, Ownership, Moccasins, Plan) method to resolve conflicts. Today we’re going to focus on part two – Ownership.

Ownership means that each person in a conflict must own his or her ‘stuff.’ Simply take responsibility for your piece of the problem. If you’re the competitive type, you might find this step difficult. Put your ego aside, and admit to your part of the conflict. Conversely, if you have an accommodating personality, make sure to ‘own’ ONLY your fair share. Don’t take ownership of the other person’s contributions to the conflict.

Similar to the Ventilation stage, you must remain professional and matter-of-fact. Be sure not to make self-righteous accusations when the other person admits his or her responsibility. Accept what he tells you in a quiet, calm manner.

Here are a few guides to help you through the Ownership stage:

  • Own what you did/said: Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Don’t try to resolve the conflict now: You’re only in stage two of the process; so don’t rush to a premature reconciliation.  You’ll only find yourself back at square one in the future.
  • Paraphrase what the other party ‘owns’: Paraphrasing what you hear your colleague own helps ensure mutual understanding. It doesn’t mean you agree.

One final point: sometimes the other party won’t acknowledge his part in the problem. When that happens, you must move on. You can only control yourself. Admit your part in the conflict, but don’t force him to admit what he should own. Frustrating? Yes. But when you take the high road, this step will still work in your favor.

The only exception to this rule is if both parties know the VOMP model and agreed to use it from the start. In that case, you can rightly request the other person to own his part. For example, you could say, “We agreed to use this model, but you’re not doing your part. What do we do now?” This will increase the other person’s level of accountability.