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Why “Blame” has “lame” in it: Don’t Get Trapped in this Leaderless Game

Published February 20, 2020

It Starts with You

Are you an expert finger pointer? Are you someone who immediately starts assigning blame for the actions of others? If so, you are destroying the opportunity to be viewed as a leader. The best leaders start with the premise that “I’m the problem, or I am contributing to the problem”. This doesn’t mean that you should instantly accept the blame, it means that to complete the best analysis of the situation you will need to start with an internal focus before you move to the external focus. Quite often you will discover that the solution lies with you and by starting with blame or others you’ve revealed a lame image to others of who you are as a leader. Blame is narcissism clothed in defense. It is not a hallmark of effective leadership; it signals personal irresponsibility. Dangers of blame abound but, is there hope in the hopeless lame blame?

Blame is a practice that destroys what you should be working to protect, how you are viewed as a leader. Taking responsibility for your shortcomings and weaknesses shows others that you are not infallible and that you are open to growth. The fear of being accountable or being part of the problem can significantly affect your image, your relationships, and the ability to obtain and sustain long-term results. Digging the additional depth of this hole will only add more work to your already busy schedule, and ultimately you’ll need additional energy to rebuild relationships and trust. Don’t create more work for yourself and others, there are already enough challenges to go around.

Those who indulge in the blame game often bounce from one goal to another, find it difficult to honor their obligations, and might act on the whim of others. Demonstrating this reluctance to take responsibility for their actions creates a longer road to travel to an optimal problem solution than is needed. This lame approach doesn’t just hurt you and the individual, but it can have residual effects of the team or those that become entangled in the resulting altercations.

What the Experts Say

According to several leadership experts, one of the causes of the lack of personal and team accountability is ineffective organizational leadership. Such leaders often have the foundational deficiency in good communication skills. If you as a leader or person, want to develop 1 skill that will provide you the best return on your investment, that will be to become a better communicator. Pew Research found that when interviewing over 3000 people to determine the 1 skill needed in the workplace, 90% identified communication. Maintaining the status quo of your current level of communication proficiency may be hurting you and your team more than you realize.

LaMarco (2019) identifies a person with a blaming personality is a bully. This is someone who makes the blaming a personal attack in public or private for other’s mistakes without first identifying their ownership of being the problem or contributing to the problem. They often lack proactive strategies for shared ownership and an amicable resolution. This type of behavior usually leads to conflict, demotivation and other unintended consequences. Please don’t misunderstand me, you need to hold others accountable for their actions, but if you only focus on them and don’t provide an adequate reflection of your own contribution, your leadership prowess is at risk.

Is There Hope?

Yes, there is hope and it lies in accountability. You need to be accountable to yourself and everyone associated with you. Accountability is a duty to accept responsibility for your actions, good or bad. You need to start by understanding where you are in the maze. Are you working to help yourself and others create an exit strategy out of the maze? Or are your behaviors driving you and your victims deeper into the maze, possibly to the point of no return? There is always time for a change, it is never too late. An ancient Chinese proverb asks, “When is the best time to plant a tree”? The answer is, “20 years ago.” The second part of the proverb asks, “When is the next best time to plant a tree”? The answer is, “Today”. Take the action today to reverse your forward travel deeper into the maze.

Being a great communicator is paramount for leadership. But even the best communicators can be tripped up if they lack integrity because integrity is said to be everything. Amster (2017) suggested a couple of ways you can strengthen your integrity. It starts with making and meeting your commitments and fulfilling your promises. Say it and do it as you said it. If you break a promise, intentionally or unintentionally, learn to hold yourself accountable, deliver an apology. and identify a path that will keep you from breaking it again. We find that the best leaders say more of they won’t do than what they will do. They stay focused on long and short-term goals and objectives so that they can reduce the chances of not delivering on their commitments. This practice cascades down the organization to keep workers challenged without stretching them beyond what is possible and causing them to miss their commitments. If you don’t do this, the probability of re-entering the blame maze, or traveling deeper into the maze, can become a real possibility. Plot your path, own your path for yourself and others and begin today.


I hope you found this article valuable on Why “Blame” has “lame” in it. You can find more Management and Leadership knowledge on our website www.MagnaLeadership.com. We are trusted advisors for executives of small to mid-sized organizations who realize an investment in their emerging leaders solves their growth and engagement challenges.

Dr. Kevin Gazzara — is a senior partner and founder of Magna Leadership Solutions, based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the author of “The Leader of OZ” www.leaderofoz.com. He is an international speaker and recognized as a Management & Leadership Expert and an Executive Coach. Kevin is a professor at 5 Universities developing and teaching programs to help others achieve their full potential. Please connect with Kevin and Magna Leadership Solutions through our website: www.magnaleadership.com, on Twitter: https://twitter.com/doctorkevin, on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingazzara, or our Facebook Fan Page at https://www.facebook.com/MagnaLeadership

I would be excited to speak with you about your current leadership and communication challenges. Please click here to book any open time on my calendar: https://Magnaleadershipkevin.youcanbook.me

If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas, I encourage you to share your thoughts with me and my readers in the comments below.

Thank you,
Dr. Kevin Gazzara
Magna Leadership Solutions LLC
Founder and Senior Partner


References

  1. LaMarco (2019) The Top Signs of Poor Leadership. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/top-signs-poor-leadership-31537.html
  2. Amster, Robin (2017) 9 Tips to Help You Strengthen Your Integrity. https://www.success.com/9-tips-to-help-you-strengthen-your-integrity/
  3. Business Training Experts. Eleven Signs Your Organization Has Ineffective Leaders. https://businesstrainingexperts.com/eleven-signs-your-organization-has-ineffective-leaders/

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