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The Blame Game

admin | 06.10.2011

It’s in our nature to look for someone or something to blame when things go wrong. Yes, we’ve all been there and done that. Maybe it’s about self preservation. It could be because we watched our role models do the same thing as we grew up and we’re just following their example. Stepping into the workplace, we saw more of the same. Nevertheless, I believe a change in how we do things is in order. Call it a cultural change or call it a behavioral change. Either is ok. But for sure, it’s time to turn the page on the Blame Game. How do we do it? First and foremost, we need to step up and take responsibility when things go wrong. If that happens, there obviously wouldn’t be the need to cast blame. Setting an example by stepping up and taking responsibility is a great way to gain respect and credibility from employees, peers and managers. It not only takes their collective guard down, but it also makes them more likely to step up and do the same when they are responsible for something that goes wrong. Another way is to hold others accountable privately. This ensures that a person can process the issue with a sense of dignity rather than be placed in a public “penalty box” when they make a mistake. Maybe the reasons for the problem were out of the person’s control. In either case, everyone deserves an opportunity to hear things out and have their case heard before the issue becomes general knowledge. When being blamed for something, be professional and patient. How a leader reacts to this kind of adversity will become an example for their team and the person casting the blame in the first place. Let the truth come out without hiding it. By the way, is it possible that anyone reading this BLOG doesn’t make mistakes from time-to-time? We need to see mistakes as learning experiences and facts of life. How we react to those mistakes will not only show our character, but also affect the culture of the organization. Remaining calm in the face of blame will diffuse the situation and help one’s credibility and reputation. Over time, bring on people that are supportive and understanding when things go wrong. Throwing someone under the bus is too common and the norm on many teams. Focus on the future. It’s ok to spend some time learning what happened so as not to repeat it, but once that’s done get off it and move on without looking back. The future and is what really matters anyway. Spending too much time of the past, while therapeutic sometimes, is unproductive. Let’s stop the Blame Game. At work or at home, your environment will improve as a result.