One of my pet peeves is when people do not take ownership of their own failures. We have all been guilty of this at times. When I was new to the workforce, it was almost my mantra to pass the blame. But over the years, I have discovered that it is far better to own up your own failures than to blame others. Let’s take a look at what I have discovered are some reasons why it may seem appealing to blame others.
Why do people blame others?
- You are insecure.
- You are afraid of tainting your good reputation.
- You want to displace anger and/or negative publicity.
Let’s investigate each of those reasons and explain why it just does not make sense to think that way.
You are insecure. You blame others because you doubt your own abilities and judgment enough that you defend yourself by blaming others. I believe that this is the most common reason for this behavior. Here’s the thing though. If you really are perfect at what you do, you would not make any mistakes. Nobody’s perfect! If you want to be perfect, you would make mistakes – and you would reflect on them and use that knowledge to make yourself a little closer to perfect. But by denying that the mistakes are yours, you deny yourself the knowledge to improve. Thereby all but assuring your own career stagnation.
You are afraid of tainting your good reputation. Have you ever heard of any companies that have had poor customer service in the past, but now their customer service is stellar? Knowing how much they improved goes a long way toward assuring customers that they are working hard and are deserving of your business. Whether you admit it or not, your reputation is going to suffer if your work stinks. The best thing you can do is own up to it, work hard, and when you turn things around – reflect with your boss and peers. That is far better than protecting your bad reputation.
You want to displace anger and/or negative publicity. Afraid of confrontation, are we? Perhaps you would rather see your peers get the blame? So you deflect your failures onto them. Not good, my friend. You will slowly create an island with only one person on it – you. Those friends that used to defend you? Now they find reasons to blame you. If karma does not work fast enough to repay your favors, your former friends will.