When something goes wrong at the office, it’s usually because of the other person. This is largely the human tendency to shift the blame. However, blaming others does not really help in tackling the situation. Not taking responsibility for a job undone or badly done (by you) shows grit of character and lack of professionalism. But as it would be, the blame game is an endemic phenomenon in the corporate world.
The temptation to pass the buck often arises when the person responsible is not in a position to justify or defend him self / her self, owing to various reasons. The blame game is common when there is a change in roles, during company mergers or when performance-based initiatives are taken. Unfortunately, a lot of employees when caught wrong are embarrassed about their mistake and hence do not acknowledge it. This gives rise to the ugly politics of ‘scape goating’. This problem can also be attributed to the company or team culture, where performance is all that matters.
People usually pass on the blame to protecting their ego passing on the blame is perhaps a quick solution. Remember, confessing and taking responsibility requires a lot of courage. It is important to understand that we are all fallible, and one should build the courage to accept them.
If you are wondering why you should take onus and invite trouble, you may be mistaken as taking responsibility does not always mean you are screwed up. In fact, it actually reflects professionalism. It obviously implies that you have understood your mistake and will avoid walking on the same track in future. It also helps one forge better relationships. If you aren’t still convinced, here’s a list of more reasons:
* Owning up the mistake takes you to the root cause of the problem. Look at it as a learning experience.
* The fear of losing creditability, in the event of a bad situation, is quite unfound. On the other hand your credibility soars up. This reflects your integrity and honesty, and makes you come across as someone who wants to learn from the mistake.
* Accepting responsibility allows transforming failures to success.
* As we have often heard, failure is the stepping stone to success. In time, accepting mistakes makes you a better person.
* Accepting a mistake may lead to panic, but it is not as bad as one makes it to be. It also builds the essential confidence to tackle unpleasant situations.
* Accepting a mistake gives you the confidence to rectify it.
* Apologizing is a sign of a healthy self-esteem.
* Taking onus for your action avoids damaging others self-esteem.
* When one shows genuine regret and signs of improvement, others forgive almost effortlessly.
* A natural outcome of shifting the blame is spite and ill feelings. When one refrains from this, you can also do away with a lot of negative emotions.
It allows you to lead by example. Your juniors or colleagues learn similar behavior, and thus, everybody finds themselves accountable to their own performance. This in turn helps improve productivity. This has a cascading effect; when a mistake occurs, the team members come clean of their own accord.Last but not the least, it allows one to take remedial action before it’s too late.
All of us need to realize that to err is human and office cultures should be free of unnecessary vices. Organizational journalism should be practiced- people should be free to express their views at all levels so that before someone tries to make a scapegoat, it is viewed in a negative light by all concerned. While we have discussed enough about why one should refrain from making others their scapegoat, it is important that one should not become a scapegoat either. Work smartly. Take note of people who have developed the habit of blaming others, and also those who act responsibly as these are the trustworthy lot. Ethical behavior has rewards greater than the price paid. Have a plan not to be victimized and hold your standards. Accepting mistakes and making the required changes, as suggested by the boss, increases the trust they established in you.