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Hybrid working: skills for leadership
Hybrid working: skills for leadership

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2.2 Don’t play the blame game

Are you a bit of a blamer? When something bad happens, do you ever jump to the conclusion that it must be someone’s fault, and look to attribute blame? If so, why do you think you do that? Why do you want it to be someone’s fault rather than no one’s fault? Perhaps because it provides some semblance of control over the situation?

Watch the following video by American research professor, lecturer, author and podcast host, Brené Brown: Brené Brown on blame [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

What did you think of Brown’s explanation that blame is simply discharging the pain and discomfort? Blame has an inverse relationship with accountability, and accountability can be a process that makes us feel vulnerable: it is challenging telling someone that they upset us or hurt our feelings and holding them accountable; without blaming them. When we move from accountability to blame, we stop really listening and we stop building empathy; we are looking to pin the blame as quickly as our brain allows us to connect it to someone.

Activity 8 Reflecting on blame

Reflect on the last time you blamed someone for something. What was it for? Was it actually that person’s fault?

Map out what happened, try to identify what the reason was that they did something you blamed them for and note the consequences for you.

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Have you ever thought you asked someone to do something and actually it turned out that nobody did it because it wasn’t clear who was to do it – was it everybody? Somebody? Anybody? And then it turned out to be nobody?

Now watch this short video: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, Nobody

As you can see, it highlights the impact of asking for something to be done but not making it someone’s specific responsibility. This can lead to the blame game.