Monday, November 23, 2009

Stop the Blamers

What do you do when someone on the team is unwilling to own up to anything? If there is a mistake or some other kind of problem, this person almost always blames something or someone else for causing the problem.

Blaming is a behavior that hurts teamwork. First of all everyone starts worrying about being blamed. Trust among team members declines. Communication erodes. Fighting increases.

Second, blame keeps us from what we are trying to do. Our goal should be to identify and solve problems. If our energy is focused on who to blame, it is not on what happened and how we might prevent it from happening again.

If blame is a problem on your team, I recommend working hard to do something about it. Here are three actions you might take.

* Evaluate the environment. You need to figure out why people are blaming others. What happens to people who make mistakes?

Are people rewarded for blaming others, reinforcing the bad behavior? What is it about the system that makes this behavior acceptable?

* Point out the behavior. Sometimes, as we defend ourselves, we turn so quickly to blaming that we are not conscious of the behavior.

Provide the person with feedback about his or her blaming behavior and inquire about the cause for it. You might learn something important while helping the person gain a valuable insight.

* Shift the frame. Help people understand that we need not find someone to blame, but might better use our time understanding what happened so that we can learn from it and hopefully prevent it from repeating.

By : Tom_LaForce

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