Blaming others is a common default communication method when you’re angry, frustrated or disappointed. I do it. You do it. But what lies beneath this behaviour and what can we do about it?
Blaming others is an effective way to avoid criticism or punishment. It’s easier to shift the blame than to admit fault and face the consequences.
Ego often makes you want to believe that you’re right, making it difficult to admit that you’ve made a mistake or done something wrong. Blaming allows you (often subconsciously) to maintain your sense of self-importance.
Lack of accountability
People who struggle with taking responsibility often have a hard time holding themselves accountable. They may have learned this behaviour from others or have never been taught to take responsibility for their actions.
Fear of failure
Fear of failure is a powerful motivator. When you blame others, you’re essentially saying that you didn’t fail; someone else did. A neat way to protect your self-esteem and avoid the negative feelings associated with failure.
When you’re focused on your own needs, it can be challenging to see things from another’s perspective. This leads to blaming somebody else for problems that you may have contributed to or created.
Some of that was tough reading!
So what can you do?
Recognise the problem
The first step in changing any behaviour is to acknowledge that it exists. If you find yourself frequently blaming others, take some time to reflect on why this might be happening and how it affects your relationships and outcomes.
Becoming more self-aware helps identify the triggers that lead to blaming behaviour. Take note of situations where you are more likely to blame others with an open mind, to understand why this might be happening.
Take ownership (the big one)
When something goes wrong, resist the urge to shirk responsibility and instead focus on what you could have done differently. Taking ownership of your actions demonstrates maturity and can help build trust with others.
Learn from mistakes
Instead of dwelling on past mistakes, use them as an opportunity to learn and grow. Reflect on what went wrong and what you can do differently in the future.
Put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and try to see things from their perspective. This can help you understand why they may have acted in a certain way.
Ask others for feedback on your behaviour and be open to constructive criticism. I know… ouch! But this can help you identify areas where you may need to improve and can help you develop a more realistic view of yourself. Short-term pain long-term gain.
What are your ideas to avoid blaming others (or yourself) and take ownership and responsibility? And what do you think of this piece?
Please share your ideas and thoughts below.