The Impact Of The Blame Game

Do people in your organisation struggle to take accountability for their mistakes or admit when they are wrong? Do they rather place the blame on someone else than themselves? This is likely an example of workers playing the blame game. 

Read on to learn more about the blame game, its impact, and how to stop it in its tracks in your organisation.

What Is The Blame Game?


Failures are a part of life. We are people, not machines, and we make mistakes. When we do, it is natural to want to escape being reprimanded for those mistakes. We don’t want to look bad or damage our careers. 

This leads many to try and escape blame by shifting it onto other employees. When employees do this, they are playing the blame game.

Some cases of the blame game are more obvious than others. For example, someone might outright deny any involvement in the mistake and blatantly implicate someone else. Other times, it’s more subtle.

Signs that indicate someone is playing the blame game include finger-pointing, focusing on the problem not the solution, excluding team members and denying any responsibility.


How It Impacts Organisations And People


If you are too busy focusing on who caused the problem, you will be distracted from solving it. Regardless of who caused the problem, it still exists and it needs fixing. The blame game can get in the way of this.

This type of attitude also creates a toxic work culture. Imagine you are working with people who do not take accountability for their mistakes. They will point fingers and shift the blame onto you in a heartbeat. This generates a sense of distrust in the workplace. You will feel less like a team, which will have a disastrous effect on productivity and employee wellbeing. 

The blame game can also decrease productivity as it often leads employees to do the bare minimum. The less they do, the less the blame falls on them should something go wrong. So, it not only affects employees but the organisation itself as it decreases results.


How Can You Stop the Blame Game?


If you are a leader in your organisation, you play a big role in creating the work culture. Recent studies have shown that simply seeing someone else in your work environment blame another person for their mistakes is enough to make you adopt the same behaviour.

Focus on the importance of learning from your mistakes. Try to show employees that how they try to fix a problem is more important than whether or not they caused it. 

If you want to foster a culture of accountability, reward people for owning up to their mistakes and trying to fix them.


Final Thoughts


We’ve all been there. We’ve all made a mistake and been tempted not to take responsibility. However, if you act on this impulse in your work environment, it can have disastrous effects on the business.

If you are in a position of leadership, it is essential that you avoid a culture of playing the blame game. Foster a blameless reporting culture where your employees can thrive and not fear making a mistake.

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Incident Management Learning from Failure Blame Game

Camilla Petersen

Country Manager, Denmark