Is it really everyone else’s fault?

I would like to think everyone is taught the basic elements of being a responsible person, and that there will be times in their lives when they need to assume ownership of something they did wrong. Obviously, we know no one is perfect. So, given this reality, it is acceptable to assume we all make mistakes. However, why is it that some people we know don’t ever own up to an incident being something they are at fault with?

Yes, it can be enormously frustrating when you are dealing with a person in your life that is always assigning blame to others. It’s also remarkable they have zero self-awareness of the fact they are likely the reason for the negative incident occurring. Does this sound like someone you know? Or, perhaps this might be a revelation for you, and that for the first time in your life, realize perhaps it’s not always someone else’s fault.

One of the best memories I have professionally of a colleague owning up to making a mistake, was when they admitted this during a company version of a town hall meeting. In fact, they boldly stated in the middle of the company meeting that they had something they wanted to share with the rest of the company. As you can imagine, most people were caught off guard, in a good way, by this individual’s announcement.

What did the person admit making a mistake about? They told their colleagues they had made a calculation mistake in forecasting their sales number, and that it was going to have a negative impact on the rest of the sales team. Keep in mind this was an individual salesperson, and making this pronouncement was an extremely bold move. However, the outcome from making this information available to the rest of the company had an amazingly positive impact.

The impact the mistake being made, and assuming complete ownership of it at that moment in time changed the dynamics of the company culture. How? It did so because the bravery it took for this person to own up to making a mistake, and then having others support, instead of condemning them was remarkable. The others on the sales team rallied for the rest of the month to help offset the forecast mistake, and there was a renewed sense of trust that evolved. Not only for the sales team members, but for others in the company.

By this one individual owning up to making a mistake publicly, it gave permission to others to do the same thing. It also allowed their colleagues to know that if they were in the same circumstance, that they were going to be better off not assigning blame to others. Even better, was that it would acceptable to ask for support from them, especially if they made a mistake.

If you know someone, or are unsure about whether you are the type of person who constantly assigns blame to others, and never acknowledges you are at fault, here are some suggestions to help you or someone you know, reconsider owning up to their mistakes. For context, this is instead of always blaming someone else for them, or for why you were wronged.

  • Yes, this will be hard to do, but do your best to consider the other persons perspective. There is a distinct possibility theirs isn’t entirely wrong.
  • The next time you are in a situation when you would automatically blame someone else for doing something wrong, or not the way you want it to be done, think about whether in fact you might have contributed to the mistake. Realistically there is a 50% chance you may have.
  • If you are always casting blame on others, think about how is it possible for you to be right 100% of the time. The last time I checked, I have yet to come across anyone who is perfect.
  • Even if you don’t think you are to blame for being at fault for something, consider whether there is a middle ground that you and the other person involved in the situation could agree upon.
  • Now this will be going to an extreme for you if you are the type of person who always thinks they are correct, and never at fault. However, what if you considered apologizing and letting the other person or group know that you may have contributed to the situation not turning out well? I’m sure the people on the receiving end of hearing this will be pleasantly surprised, and so will you be with their reaction to your apology.
  • Just like anything we want to become excellent at doing, practicing owning up and assuming responsibility for our mistakes, acknowledging and apologizing for them is what you will have to begin doing to not be “that person” who is never wrong.

The best leaders I have worked with are humble, empathetic and very often admit they are wrong, or that they do not have all of the right solutions. They do however, embrace working collaboratively with others to find a way to agree to a solution that will work for the majority of people. Consider the next time you are about to cast blame on someone else, what this will actually accomplish.

Tags: #Business #Leadership #Leaders #Responsibility #Ownership #PeopleManagement #Teams #Management #Personaldevelopment

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