The "Blame Game"
Did you catch the news report earlier this week about the
woman who sued the weatherman? No kidding, it is true.
A woman heard a local weatherman predict fair skies and warm
weather. She took him at his word and dressed accordingly.
Predictably, the forecast proved erroneous. The sky opened, the
rain fell and the temperature dropped dramatically. As a result
of dressing as the weatherman prediction indicated, the woman
caught the flu, missed four days of work and income. She sued the
weatherman and the station for damages, as well as emotional
distress (or something like that!).
Fewer and fewer of us accept responsibility for anything
these days. More and more of us find it easier and easier to
blame others for our troubles, mistakes and failures. While the
zany case of the woman and the weatherman is extreme, it
illustrates a problem we need to address. We find comfort in
blaming others because it takes the heat and the attention off of
us. Blaming shifts responsibility away from me toward you.
Blaming you for a problem seems to make me look better in the
eyes of those who watch us. However, in most cases, blaming
"boomerangs". My refusal to take responsibility for my
life, actions, work, ethics, health and countless other areas and
roles where I live demonstrates my irresponsibility.
Irresponsibility can be hidden only so long.
So, how do we avoid the blame epidemic? Try these rules for
- Before you accept an assignment or agree to do something,
arrive at a full understanding of your role, functions
and accountabilities. Once you sign on, commit to follow
- Adopt a "no excuses" policy when it come to
your performance. Step up to your part of the task and
take it on. Work hard. Give credit to others as you
succeed. Freely and openly accept criticism and
responsibility for things that may go wrong.
- Be honest with yourself, your peers and your superiors.
If you make a mistake, own it immediately. If you need
more information, admit it quickly. Don't play games.
Recognize the value of humility.
- Take care of your business and leave the business of
others alone. Chances are you have more than enough on
your own plate!
- Ask for help when you need it and freely give it to
others when they ask for it. Regard yourself as a team
player rather than an island.
- Periodically apply these rules to various, diverse
situations in your life. For instance, apply them to your
morning drive time on crowded highways and to your
current number one responsibility at work. You will be
surprised how they fit almost everywhere.
Don't be afraid to develop other personal rules for avoiding
the blame game. We're wasting far too much time and precious
energy on a silly, counterproductive game that gets none of us
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