The Blame Game

Dysfunctional work places often suffer from an abundance of blame. People who screw up blame others, or some condition, for their poor performance. Those who get blamed feel they are under attack, so they are tempted to play the blame game in turn. Soon you have a culture of blame, not cooperative work.

A study has been done that indicates blaming others is contagious. When finding fault with others is an acceptable work place strategy for job success, it will become an epidemic. It cannot possibly be limited to a few incompetents who try to divert attention from their own failures, because the targets of the blame will find it necessary to join the fun to protect themselves.

People in the top of the organization are responsible for this condition, usually by practicing it themselves. (See, I told you it was contagious--there I go blaming people already!) Leaders who cannot take responsibility for their own actions foster an atmosphere where nobody takes responsibility. The end result is a constant, daily grind of cover-your-ass, and the easiest way to do that is to join the crowd and point fingers, rather than fixing whatever needs to be fixed. Good bosses don't allow this to develop. Incompetent, hypocritical bosses make it happen.