How to avoid the pitfalls of the “Blame Game”

An excellent article in The New York Times addresses the perils of the Blame Game in the workplace.

Mistakes and failures happen in any working environment, and finger-pointing or scapegoating is a pretty common occurrence. People tend to copy blaming as a behavior and it can snowball into a culture of blame, creating a very difficult work environment.

Praise, on the other hand, motivates people. Every word of acknowledgement helps to keep your employees connected and inspired, so don’t miss an opportunity to give well-deserved credit. But don’t let it become an empty routine that’s lost its meaning. Be specific about what you’re acknowledging; do it in a variety of ways and places – at meetings, during a lunch, in an e-mail, by text or by memo, using different language each time.

The article quotes some of my advice to people receiving unfair accusations: “Avoid a knee-jerk response and take a step back instead, says Lynn Taylor, chief executive of Lynn Taylor Consulting, a workplace productivity firm in Santa Monica, Calif., and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant.”

For more tips on how to prevent the Blame Game from messing up your team’s workflow, read this interview in The New York Times: The Problem With Pointing Fingers.