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  • Writer's picturePeter Yawitz

How can I stop blaming others?

- “In your email you claim that we agreed to have the audit finished by last Friday. We absolutely don’t remember having agreed to that.”

- “Sorry, I clearly remember that you did agree to that.”

- “Well, we don’t.”

- “Well, we do.”

- “We don’t. And you’re ugly.”

- “No, you are.”

Ah, the blame game. A client of mine recently had to intervene when one of his employees had the above email exchange with a client. OK, I’m lying. That was an exchange I had with my parents.

My client did, however, have to take over when her employee made a minor mistake in a client report. Her client called to complain, and the employee became defensive and blamed someone else for the error. Not a great show of customer service or teamwork.

My client had to explain the situation to her client, took the blame for the oversight, and reassured the client that they would examine the reporting system to ensure there would be no future errors.

The lessons:

  1. Acknowledge mistakes. You’ll get more respect from people if you show how you can learn from what went wrong so it won’t happen again.

  2. Reward employees for responding appropriately to complainers. Let your people know that it’s ok to chalk problems up to a miscommunication or misunderstanding.

  3. Don’t play the blame game or pass the buck. You’ll spend way too much time dwelling on what happened rather than getting your work done. And no one will want to play with you.

So there.

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