What Does Forgiveness Look Like in the Workplace?

How to Avoid a Culture of Blame

by Dr. Rick Goodman on January 5, 2016

Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody fails from time to time. What’s important is that we redeem those failures. What’s important is that we learn from them.

So let me ask you: Do your team members learn from their failures? Do you learn from yours?

Too often, the answer to these questions is no. That’s because many corporate cultures do not make it safe to fail. Failure is met with blame, if not outright shame—which means nobody feels comfortable taking risks and nobody is willing to own up to their errors and learn from them.

That’s no way to run a business. Smart leaders create environments in which employees can use their failures to get better. And that means shifting away from the blame game.

Does Your Culture Promote Blame?

Easier said than done, right? Well, not necessarily. You may have a culture of blame right now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to improve things and create an environment where failure is safe.

Some tips for moving past a culture of blame:

  • Provide your team with the room to problem solve. Give them training in identifying issues and strategically thinking through potential fixes.
  • Be open to suggestions for possible improvements. Don’t take it as criticism; take it as meaningful feedback.
  • Show real leadership by publically acknowledging your own errors and mistakes. Don’t try to hide them or cover them up. Own up to them!
  • When chastising employees or discussing their shortcomings, do so in a private environment—but offer praise and affirmation publically.
  • Remind your team members that failures and mistakes are learning opportunities, and encourage your team members to pause and reflect on what they can learn from their own shortcomings.

The blame game wastes time and prevents you from really using your failures; it’s very much worth your while to create a culture in which blame never enters the picture.

Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and is one of the most sought after conference keynote speakers on leadership, engagement and business growth in the United States and internationally.

He is also the author of the book Living A Championship Life, “A Game Plan for Success,” and the co–author of the book Jamie’s Journey: Travels with My Dad written by his sixteen-year-old daughter Jamie.

Dr. Rick is famous for helping organizations, corporations and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micro managing the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include Heineken, AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Franklin Templeton Investments.

You can contact Dr. Rick at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.

Dr. Rick GoodmanHow to Avoid a Culture of Blame