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BBP49 Stop Blaming Others

Lessons for Leaders

Release Date: 07/25/2019

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This week I'm talking about blame on the podcast.  I'm covering why it happens, how we can handle it and how we can change it.

There’s such a society around us these days, with politicians, news, well, anyone really looking for “who is responsible”.  But it isn’t just a recent thing.  Often it can be as a result of experiences that go deeper than just society and circumstance right now.

Why do people blame?

Learned behaviour:

Sometimes we’ve learnt in our early lives that this is what we do when things get tough.  It can be from parents, leaders, influential people in our childhood.  If we don’t learn to take responsibility, and learn to look for who is at fault and who to blame, then that’s what we will do.  Often without realising.

Feeling Out of Control:

Often if we feel so overwhelmed, or upset and the emotions are running high and we feel out of control, then we try and regain that control by blaming others.  Ultimately, what’s going on behind that is fear.  It might not look like fear, but you can bet it will be!

When the fear kicks in we can become defensive and feel that we’re under attack.  How would you protect yourself from that attack?  Of course, you fire back. 


What happens here is that someone is struggling with how they feel on the inside, but trying to control the outside circumstances or people.  That’s never going to sort things out.

So when someone is avoiding looking at their own situation, refusing to accept responsibility, it might be about failure, confusion, getting things wrong, misunderstanding the list is endless, then they don’t want to look at the negatives in themselves, they project it outwards instead, so look for who to blame. 

Elevated Status:

Sometimes you might see someone putting someone else down.  I didn’t do that because they did or didn’t do this.  They are blaming someone else for their situation, error or circumstance and by putting someone else down, they’re elevating their own status.  Thing is that people see through it.  It’s not attractive.  They also don’t want to be on the receiving end either.


“When you blame and criticise others, you are avoiding some truths about yourself”

Deepak Chopra 

So if you’re on the receiving end of someone who likes to blame what can you do?

Definitely don’t rise to the blame situation.  It will only add fuel to their fire.  The more you try to reason with a blamer, the more ammunition you give them to fire back at you.  However pragmatic you think you’re being, they’re not on your wavelength, so don’t engage.

You might want to put some distance between you and them.  That’s not always possible,, but it can help to ease the negative situation when blaming happens.

Later, when things have calmed down, have a conversation with them, obviously without doing any more blame!  Tell them how you feel.  Use lots of statements that include "I" statements.

When that happened I felt this / that.

I feel really upset when you blamed me for that missed deadline because I did work late / everything I could to help meet that target.

It’s not about any more blame or right or wrong, it’s about your opinion is that you felt xyz.  It’s difficult to argue with an opinion.

Also see if you can look at the facts of the situation with them.  See if there are any truths in what happened.  You need to use careful, curious language, like the wording I mentioned in episode 44 about curiosity and also episode 42 about giving and receiving feedback.


If you have found yourself blaming

then beginning to recognise that you do this,  is the first step.  If that’s you, well done for knowing you do it. 

Then begin to look for solutions:

  • OK this happened, so now what? 
  • What can be done? 
  • What can be learned? 

When you begin to pick up that responsibility for your own actions and feelings, then you’re really taking ownership of you.  To accept you. 

No-one is perfect.  We all mess up. 

Being aware of our actions and making steps towards change is always going to be better than blaming.

If this is valuable to you or to someone else, the please share this episode or book a call with me HERE to talk about how to make that change.