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5 Impacts of a Blame Culture

And How to Avoid it and Build A Culture of Accountability

How you respond to problems has a major impact on your teams, your results and ultimately your reputation. Some leaders leap to action, organizing their troops, searching for the root cause and looking to address the issue as quickly as possible. Others seek out who is responsible, trying to find who dropped the ball that created the problem, and basically where to place blame.

But when you take the blame route this will have serious consequences for you, here are 5 ways that playing the blame game will negatively impact you.

You lose your power to solve the problem

When you start to point the finger, not only have you diverted yourself from finding a solution, but by making someone else the source of the problem you are also making them the source of the solution too. When you say “this is your fault”, you are effectively telling them they need to fix this. You are absolving yourselves of blame and saying this is not your fault, not your problem to solve. When yiu give up ownership of the problem, you also give up ownership of searching for the solution.

Effective leaders take ownership of the issue looking to solve it first, and only then do they hold an inquest but here they focus on ensuring the problem doesn’t happen again, not who’s fault it is.

Leads to a toxic environment

When you start to blame people it actually gives others the green light for them blame others too, and it doesn’t take long for a blame culture to become the culture within the organization.

Good leaders don’t point the finger, and they are quick to stop others from doing this, because if it’s allowed, then it’s perceived as condoned.

Creates to employee disengagement

When you create a blame culture people become afraid of making mistakes in case they get called out, or the fingers start pointing in their direction. They know the best way to avoid being blamed, either fairly or unfairly, is to do the absolute minimum. So they stop to volunteer or get involved and certainly don’t look to take ownership. All of which leads to employees becoming disengaged.

You need to create a safe environment where people feel that if they make a mistake they will be supported, and the focus will be on solutions and not blame or criticism as this will encourage people to become more involved.

Reduces productivity

In a blame culture, people need to ensure that if things do go wrong that it won’t come back to them. This approach dilutes their work efforts because, in addition to doing their tasks, they also need to spend time covering their ass, and that effort reduces their effectiveness and productivity.

We need to foster an environment where people feel comfortable about admitting mistakes, learning the lessons and moving on without fear of reproach.

Reduces your effectiveness to lead

When leaders are quick to blame it erodes the trust that the team has in their leader. Leaders are supposed to provide support to their teams, a safe environment and nurture the talents, and blaming others, especially when they are not at fault is an anathema to that. Trust is the cornerstone of leadership and anything that erodes trust erodes your effectiveness as a leader.

Great leaders defend their teams and they take more of the blame because they know that leaders are accountable for the results. This approach actually breeds trust in the leader and that increases a leader’s ability to lead, the engagement from their team and ultimately the results.

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