Why #Blaming Makes You Small and Ineffective

Are you weary of the endless blaming that happens in the media each day? I am! In my life I can’t remember a time when so many people in important and powerful positions of leadership regularly cast blame. The incorrect notion that “if I blame you or put you down, then I (faulty assumption) am lifted up.”

In this brief blog I’ll lay out why blaming others is always a bad strategy, and what to do about it.

If a situation, regardless of where it occurs, isn’t going well, and a person of power “passes the buck” onto some else, here’s a few of the implications:

  • No one learns anything. The focus gets shifted from the real issue or problem to another person. It’s an often-applied and manipulative strategy to shift the focus from the real issue or person who should claim responsibility. Apparently, it makes for good media ratings, but it’s lousy for learning and moving forward.
  • No ownership. This causes a case of “hot potato” whereby no one takes ownership.
  • No accountability. If blame rules, then no one has to try and figure out what’s really going on.
  • No engagement. When blame is the common first response, people will hesitate to dig in and deal with the real issue. When you know that leadership is blaming versus owning, people understand that no one has their back and they’re really on their own.
  • Fosters distrust. If my boss just blamed my colleague for something that wasn’t her fault, then I’m probably the next one to be blamed. This causes people to keep their proverbial heads down.
  • Repetition. This problem will happen again and again and again. This is the definition of insanity.

If you are a “blamer”, here’s what happens when you won’t take responsibility:

  • You just decided to chip away at your own reputation.
  • It makes you weaker, because you’re not taking responsibility.
  • If you do it enough times, you’ll start to believe that it really is someone else’s fault. And it will destroy your credibility in the process.
  • Everyone already knows you’re B.S.ing them as soon as you open your mouth, they probably just won’t call you on it. And behind your back they’ll say that you need to step up and start accepting responsibility.
  • It steals time and destroys trust.

What can be done? Here’s a few suggestions based on real-world experiences:

  • Take the appropriate level of responsibility for the results you’re getting. Yes, it takes courage and risk, and the payoff comes through personal integrity and character building. This will build your credibility, strengthen communication, cleanse the soul and improve your sense of self-confidence.
  • Step up and admit your mistakes. This will encourage others to support you for your courage, and nudge them towards being transparent about their own mistakes or lack of commitment, thus leading to increased levels of trust and effectiveness.
  • Point out what’s possible. Look forward, not back. Analyzing the past is largely a waste of time.
  • You may need to leave the organization to save your own soul.

Some cultures don’t or won’t support this, and that’s a clear sign of poor leadership. A leader that isn’t working to improve the culture, or perhaps is oblivious to the fact that they set the tone, is harming their own organization.

Remember, people would rather work with someone who’s always real than always right. Take responsibility is something that can literally rewrite your story ending.


This blog shares perspectives on how you have the ability to create new story endings that are meaningful, powerful and filled with hope. I facilitate culture changing processes that help organizations achieve greater impact. Also, I provide leadership coaching to help executives and aspiring leaders become the fullest expression of who they’re intended to be.

If you're looking for coaching or consulting services, contact me - brian@leadersedge.me

@beckerbits #leadership #vision #culture www.leadersedge.me