How to Stop the Blame Games

By Rick Goodman

Tumisu / Pixabay

As you strive to build a corporate culture of accountability, there’s one thing that can stand in your way—and that’s blame.

You’ve probably seen it happen a hundred times or more, either within your own business or elsewhere: Something goes wrong, and immediately people start pointing fingers, making accusations, and trying to figure out who’s really at fault.

This is problematic for so many reasons: It breeds distrust, it erodes team unity, and it prevents employees from taking full responsibility for their own shortcomings.

The thing is, blame is a pretty natural response among people who feel cornered, or who might worry that the fingers might get pointed back at them. The question is, what can you do to remove blame from the equation in your company culture?

An End to the Blame Games

Let me offer a few solutions.

  1. First and foremost, lead by example. If you want to put an end to the blame, start with yourself. When you err, own up to it—never trying to cast the blame onto others. And even in cases where you do feel like someone else is to blame, stop and ask yourself what good can be accomplished by throwing them under the bus.
  2. If you do feel the need to place blame, do so constructively. That might mean taking someone aside and privately letting them know they messed up, then helping them brainstorm some ways to avoid it happening again. Focus on solutions—not punishment!
  3. Master this short phrase: Let’s focus on what we can control. Make this your team’s mantra. Rather than getting caught up in what happened and why, put the emphasis on what you can do to fix things.
  4. Finally, look for learning opportunities! Whenever mistakes are made, redeem them by getting your team members together to try to plot better, more effective ways to do things moving forward. Use mistakes to get better.

Building a Blame-Free Culture

Building a culture where team members don’t play the blame game is admirable—but also challenging. It’s not going to happen overnight. Instead, it’s going to happen through steadily cultivating the right habits—and again, that starts with you!

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