Mark recently sent a "Things I Think I Think" about Responsible Language and that got me thinking. (It's possible this has already been discussed or otherwise covered but I've missed it. If this is the case, feel free to redirect me to the appropriate area.)
I have no problem owning up and taking complete responsibility for things I mess up but it sticks in my craw to take responsibility for things over which I had little or no authority to impact the results.
BLUFish: is it wrong/inappropriate to both identify the root cause of a situation while still taking responsibility for fixing the situation?
The example that bugged me the most was where the flight attendant said "They stocked the white wine on the wrong side of the galley" and the suggested language was "I'm sorry, I overlooked the wine earlier. I've found it; would you like some?" I'd be inclined to combine the two: "I'm sorry - they stocked the white wine on the wrong side of the galley and I just found the wine; would you like some?"
If there are standards in which the Galley Stock Associate is to load items in a particular manner, in specific locations, so that the white wine is always on the left, it's pretty obvious that the Galley Stock Associate blew it. If someone said to me "I overlooked the wine" I would think they were a complete nimrod, quite honestly. The baseline assumption is that "I looked in the [entire] galley and we were out" so when we whiz past the fact that there was a fundamental flaw in the standard operating procedures, the person (me, the flight attendant, Mark, anyone) uses the absolutely most generic responsibility language possible, it's quite easy to make situations worse.
If I sat in Mark's seat and watched the flight attendant rattle off the "responsible but neutral language" I would think that FA was completely unqualified - doesn't know how to look for a beverage, doesn't know how to operate the freakin' coffee pot.
When you tell me that someone "moved your cheese" and that there "may have been a hardware malfunction" while still taking responsibility for seeing to my needs / resolving the problem, I cut the person quite a bit more slack and feel pleasantly attended to - instead of irritated that I got stuck with an FA who couldn't find his way out of a wet paper sack.
I believe this may be a case of stubborn pride on my part - the intense drive to protect my reputation (ie., I care a bit too much what others think of me.) So I suppose I'm asking: is it wrong to do both - identify the root cause while still taking responsibility for remedying the situation?