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The Blame Game

What is The Blame Game? More specifically, what is the blame game in business? The blame game is real. According to Merriam-webster.com, the blame game is: 
     a situation in which different individuals or groups attempt to assign blame to each other for some  problem or failure.

Sound familiar? In business, the blame game is a lack of accountability. In business and in life, things are going to happen. As a result, there will always be bumps in the road. Mistakes will happen; it is expected and it is okay. 

How you handle the bumps is what truly matters. Sure, the blame game is the easy, cowardly way out. Blame someone else, after all, it wasn’t my fault. Or was it?

It is important for leaders to learn how to hold teams accountable so the blame game does not take over the business. Leaders must first hold themselves accountable. If leaders are accountable, it sets the example for others to be accountable and therefore have the ability to own up to mistakes and to not blame others. 

Leaders must also make it safe for mistakes to happen because they will happen. If we feel unsafe in owning our mistakes, we are less inclined to come forward with our mistakes. What do I mean by safe? Well, I must have enough faith and trust in my leader to come forward with my mistake. I must be able to talk with them about what happened and how I plan to fix the problem or ask for help with the problem. If I fear punishment, I will be hesitant to come forward.

A lack of accountability is unfair to the team. Business leaders that tolerate blame or finger pointing must address that issue. Allow your team to mess up. That is how they learn. Teach them to be accountable, to own their mistakes. Also teach them to offer solutions or ask for help if they get stuck. 

Here are some quick tips to avoid the blame game:
  1. Set the example
  2. Teach your teams what it means to be accountable. 
  3. Teach your teams that it is okay to hold each other and you, the leader accountable, as long as it is done respectfully. 
  4. Accept no excuses
  5. Coach your team members on finding solutions.
  6. Help, if they get stuck
  7. Coach your team that if you are wrong, apologize. 
  8. Set the example. 
“Set the example” is intended to be on the list twice. If you, the business leader, are not accountable or if it’s not okay for you to be wrong, how do you expect your team to learn accountability?

End the blame game. 

Be an accountable leader. Build accountable teams.