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Avoiding Blame and Judgement, an Interview with Katie Owens – Healthcare Experience Matters Podcast

March 3, 2022

Today’s episode of the Healthcare Experience Matters podcast is all about strategies for avoiding blame and judgement. We explore this topic with Katie Owens, the Co-Founder and President of the Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) and PRC’s Senior Vice President, Excellence Accelerator®.

When we continuously place blame on others it damages relationships and negatively impacts our work environments. With efforts in place to avoid blame and judgement, we create an atmosphere that allows the patient experience to better thrive.

“If we’re not careful, blame creeps into our vocabulary and we leave an emotional wake behind,” Katie described.

As Katie outlines for us on today’s episode, there are steps we can take to reduce and eliminate blame. We can also establish more constructive ways to manage conflict.

“Placing blame jeopardizes relationships. Whether we mean to or not, blame and negativity activates our defense mechanisms so that we’re geared up for that fight or flight,” she said.

Katie describes the importance of avoiding small phrases of negativity that epitomize blame and can creep into our vocabulary. Simply being aware of these phrases may be the first step in riding them from our lexicon.

In times of a crisis and high stress, it is extremely important to avoid blaming others. During these tough times in the workplace, it is natural for people to have a “shorter fuse” than ever. We must exercise deep empathy and compassion for others in these times.

“When we are in crisis our need to double-down on emotional intelligence is probably its most prominent, and that begins with self-awareness,” Katie said.

When we can manage our emotions, we are less likely to blame other people and demonstrate resentment to colleagues. With emotional intelligence, we avoid hostility towards other people and we are more in tune to empathize and listen.

As noted by Katie, there is a major difference from listening to understand versus listening to judge.

How do we break these cycles? Katie recommends some simple steps, such as:

  • Begin and end every day thinking about what you are grateful for.
  • Take ownership and responsibility when you are wrong.
  • Spend time with positive people.
  • Give compliments and find the things that we appreciate in somebody else.

“Spend more time with the people who lift you up,” Katie said.

It has been a few months since Katie last joined our show, and we could not be more pleased to welcome her back! You can catch up on her previous episodes:

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Listen to the entire episode of today’s discussion with Katie Owens here: