It’s not my fault. I didn’t do it. It’s not my responsibility. Someone else must have messed up. Who is to blame for this?
Is this a dialogue you are familiar with?
Sadly too many of us hear these words in situations when a clear head and positive resolution is called for.
What happened? How did it happen (or not happen) and how do we ensure we don’t make this mistake again? What will give us all the best outcome?
This is a different narrative.
After speaking with a business leader about working successfully with teams and allowing people to take responsibility, I was reminded that the incidence of blame is all too common. It’s usually the result of people not wanting to take responsibility for actions or mistakes.
Is it simply that or is it fear-based as well? There is so much talk about “ these uncertain times” right now, and many businesses are feeling disjointed with the physical distancing for employees, however, I’m wondering if that is an excuse, a reason, a symptom, or even a result of what is happening.
Responsibility and accountability are important issues and should be part of the team values but getting into the blame game at work is an unnecessary minefield.
People often feel if they apologise for incorrectly or unfairly blaming someone else then it’s OK. If you don’t play the blame game the apology is not needed.
Who do you blame when something goes wrong? When do you choose to blame rather than confer and discuss? Why do you choose to blame and what does that get for you? Interesting.
Blame is a waste of time, it can be demeaning, derisive, and totally unproductive. Look to the cause – the real cause and work out what happened and why, and how you can reduce or eliminate the risk of repeating the mistake. Who is responsible for ensuring that the person who made the mistake was trained and advised correctly?
Is the communication effective and productive?
What would a good leader do?
“What is another way I can think about that…?” or “What is another way I can do that to achieve a better result?” These are both proactive questions that will give you a more positive outcome.
The blame game activity shouldn’t be left in the playground – it shouldn’t be there in the first place. What game are you playing?
Suzanne Glendenning. Quantum Results Coaching International. Copyright 2022

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