- “Well it wasn’t me!”
- “We did our part!”
- “I told them this would happen!”
- “Not my problem!”
Too often the blame game is started. People are more concerned about covering their collective rear ends than the mistake. Often extraordinary measures are taken to deflect any blame. Insulating oneself or department is seen as a defensive measure to ensure blame for any failure cannot be reflected back on them. I see this as counterproductive, but that is another article.
Mistakes WILL happen and the blame game has been around a long time. How you choose to handle situations like this will say a lot about you personally and as a manager. Your first reaction should not be to find the person or group that made the mistake and rail them up one wall and down the other.
Your first reaction to should to step up and take control of the situation.
- If upper management is not yet aware of the mistake you should be the one bring it to their attention. It is better if it comes from you than someone else.
- Take the lead with a proactive approach to reducing any further damage the mistake may cause.
- Find the root cause of the mistake and put into place measures to try and make sure such a mistake cannot happen again.
- If the mistake can be traced back to a particular employee look at what you could have done or can do to help them.
- Examine your Quality Assurance process to see how it slipped through.
See a mistake as an opportunity for growth and improvement for you, your group or team and the person who made it. Don’t look for others to share the blame. Whatever has happened step up and take responsibility for it. If you try to place blame on others you play yourself as the victim. Rise above such petty thoughts. Even if it is not your fault when you play the victim it will be seen as a weakness.