Motivation for the Marketplace

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 embracing responsibility:

  1. 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 through.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Take care of your business and leave the business of others alone. Chances are you have more than enough on your own plate!
  5. 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.
  6. 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 anywhere.

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