3 Steps to Stop The Blame Game

It’s IT’s fault. The CEO doesn’t really know what’s happening. That department isn’t doing what they’re supposed to do.

Have you ever heard any of these types of comments at your work? Of course, you have. Unfortunately, most of us have uttered those types of comments. They are all part of the blame game. It’s the one game played in all companies too often.

Psychologists can give you specific reasons why we play the blame game. At the bottom of this piece is a link to an article in Psychology Today. It gives you five reasons why we play the blame game. In this post, I want to give you three steps to stop the blame game.

  1. Be the First to Stop Blaming

This sounds simple, but we’ve all grown up in societies where it’s human to blame someone else for your problems. Maybe you blamed a sibling, a classmate, or a workmate. It took the pressure off you for whatever was going wrong. As a leader, the buck stops with you. If there’s a problem, you need to help solve the problem. Passing the problem along means you’re not a leader. Of course, you can’t solve all the problems that come to you, but you certainly can take the lead in finding the solution.

One way to stop the blame game is to deal with problems when they arise, even if they aren’t your problems. I once looked after four programs in a department where we had many calls from customers. It was standard procedure for whoever took the call to ensure that we answered the questions, referred the caller to a specific person or department that would have the answer, or took the person’s number so we could call back with the information requested. Yes, it took time, but we satisfied our customers and, in the process, learned more about our organization.

By following this procedure, we were proactive, had answers, learned more about our organization, and, in doing so, replaced negativity with positivity. When you have answers, you don’t have to blame anybody else or lack the information you need.

  1. Challenge Others When They Blame

Very few people like conflict. Consequently, when someone else makes an error or blames someone else we are reluctant to challenge them. If it’s your peer blaming someone or a direct report, it’s up to you to challenge that person and question why they’re blaming someone. How? Ask good questions.

I learned a long time ago that asking good questions can solve many problems. Who, what, why, when, where, and how questions can get you to the bottom of many problems. When someone says that management doesn’t know what they’re doing. Start asking questions. What do you think they should’ve done in this situation? How would they handle this differently? What processes could be put in place to make this better for us?

The person who is in the middle of blaming management will have to pause and formulate an answer. Usually, they aren’t going to have an answer. If they don’t get the point that blaming someone else is not helping the problem, you want to take the opportunity to suggest if they don’t have an answer, don’t blame someone else.

  1. Be a Problem Solver

Many people blame when they don’t have an answer or when their emotions get in the way of their logic. Blaming is a defence mechanism. We don’t want to be wrong. We don’t want to look foolish. If those two reasons, or many others, are what’s keeping the blame game active in your workplace, change the culture.

You change the culture by being the problem solver. If you continually demonstrate that it’s okay not to have all the answers. It’s okay to ask for assistance. It’s okay to give credit to someone else for solving a problem. You’ll soon be recognized as a problem solver and how you function will begin to be emulated by others.

Stopping the blame game in any situation, be it work, community or family is going to take time. It’s going to take leadership. It means you will hold people accountable to do what they’re supposed to do. It means you will make people responsible for their job or their position in life.

Like anything else in leadership, eliminating the blame game in your workplace or in your team takes planning, communication, and follow-up.

What have you done to stop the blame game? Comment below.

Garth

Psychology Today Article

Have You Ever Replaced Yourself?

For an hour today, I coached one of my clients on how to onboard a new hire. This isn’t just any new hire, it’s the one who will take over a good portion of my client’s job.

Have you ever replaced yourself?

My client, let’s call him George, needed some assistance with deciding what to tackle first. Here’s my advice to George.

  1. Take an inventory. What’s working? What’s not working? If it’s not working, figure out why it’s not working so you don’t pass “it” along, be it a process or system.
  2. Find a quiet time and place to brainstorm all the tasks that eventually go to the new hire.
  3. Prioritize all those tasks into a sequence as to when they’re given. What’s immediate, what’s mid-training and what’s longterm.
  4. Plan how to introduce the new hire to your team. You’ve gone outside to find the candidate so be aware some already on the team may feel like they were passed over. Put your communication plan in place and have group and individual conversations, as required. Don’t skip this step or you will regret it later.
  5. Plan, based on the new hire’s credentials,  how much training, coaching and mentoring the new hire will probably need.
  6. Put your plan in place to train, coach or mentor. Determining which technique to use in any situation will be a challenge. Give the new hire the benefit of the doubt and allow the person to demonstrate personal skills before you step in.
  7. Ask good questions to determine the skill set of the new hire as tasks are tackled. Good questions will help you determine whether it’s training, coaching or mentoring.
  8. Be prepared to change your plan once the new hire in on board.
  9. Plan your own schedule as to how you’re going to use the free time you’ll have once the new hire is here. What projects have been waiting to be tackled? Do a brainstorming exercise to plan your future. If you’re busy with your own projects you’ll be less likely to micro-manage your new hire.

George and I had a good conversation and now it’s up to him to execute the plan.

My question, what steps have we missed? I look forward to your feedback.

Garth

What Really Motivates Employees?

It’s not recognition, incentives, interpersonal support, support for making progress, or clear goals that motivate workers. Based on the data collected by Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, in a 2010 article in Harvard Business Review, none of these were number one.

Number one was progress.

Note: It was rated dead last by some 600 managers from dozens of companies. The authors of the article conducted a multiyear survey to come up with their conclusion.

So, what do you think motivates workers as we end in 2017 and go into 2018? Personally, I like the 7 steps outlined list “D” below. I believe they show that not much has changed in terms of motivation from 2010.

A. In an article in Inc., Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO, AudienceBloom, list the following:

  1. Individual attention matters
  2. Advancement opportunities are enticing
  3. Leaders set the example
  4. Environmental motivators can make or break you
  5. Socialization makes people more committed
  6. Transparency is the key to communication

https://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/6-motivation-secrets-to-inspire-your-employees.html

B. In Hays Viewpoint blog, Marc Burrage, Managing Director, Hays Japan, notes his favourites:

  1. Learning and development
  2. A clear path of progression
  3. Recognition
  4. Autonomy and responsibility
  5. Work environment

https://social.hays.com/2016/04/26/5-things-that-motivate-your-employees-more-than-money/

C. On the TalentCulture website, Sarah Landrum, in 2015, laid out her perspective:

  1. Peer motivation
  2. Opportunities to grow
  3. Strong work culture
  4. Engaging, interesting work
  5. Employees are motivated by being involved

Sarah sums up her article with this synopsis.

What Employees Want

  1. Appreciation of work done
  2. Feeling of being in on things
  3. Sympathetic help with personal problems

What Managers Think Employees Want

  1. Good wages
  2. Job security
  3. Promotion

https://talentculture.com/what-truly-motivates-employees/

D. In the Huffington Post blog, David Vollmer Jr., the owner and CEO of Isolator Fitness Inc., proposes the following:

  1. Communicate and train
  2. Take time to listen
  3. Harness proper management techniques
  4. Recognize their accomplishments
  5. Pay it forward
  6. Be professional
  7. Make it fun

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/young-entrepreneur-council/7-ways-to-motivate-employ_b_9932156.html

While the business each of these authors is engaged in may impact their list, remember, we all have one common commodity—people.

Treat them like they want to be treated, not as you want to treat them.

Garth Roberts, CSP     www.garthroberts.com

What’s Your Professional Development Venue?

Do you have a favorite professional development venue? For 17-years one of my main professional development venues has been my local CAPS meeting. it’s a monthly gathering of professional speakers, trainers, and facilitators. As a solo-entrepreneur, my office can get lonely. Learning can be a challenge. Connecting with community can be a difficult. My CAPS meeting, which I attended today, can be my salvation. Today, Michelle Ray, a leadership expert from Vancouver, British Columbia, shared her insights. I have homework for this week.

CAPS stands for the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. It’s a national organization, connected to International Associations. Like many associations, it’s a place to go to find out about what’s happening in our industry and to connect to community. I get a chance to connect to people who have a global reach and to those who work regionally and locally.

What professional development activities have you participated in this year? Have you gone to an association meeting, read a book or attended a seminar? Each of us needs to be a continuous learner. In my work as a workshop facilitator,  I see those who are actively learning and I see those who are at the session because they had to attend. Which ones do you suspect are the better employees? Which ones do you feel are enjoying their daily jobs more? I can tell you, from my experience, the ones who are actively engaged in life as the life-long learners.

Take 10-minutes this week to plan for you. What do you need to learn this year? What would you like to learn this year? What challenge do you want to accept? I look forward to meeting you at a Professional Development event.

 

 

 

Garth Roberts

 

 

 

As A Speaker, Remember It’s Not About You

The link below is a cool link about being a speaker. The author gives you 7 concepts and I’d like to add one more. Remember, it’s not about you. Too many speakers are all about what they have to say instead of recognizing it’s all about the audience. What does the audience need? What benefit are you giving to your audience? What do you want them to do with your material when you finish talking? Remember this while you check out the article – http://bit.ly/1pcaoWo

Why Do You Take Courses?

For over 30 years I’ve conducted seminars and workshops. It’s been fun, educational, enlightening and, occasionally, depressing. Well, maybe not totally depressing but certainly not fun. Sometimes there are people in sessions who do not want to be there. They were sent and view the time as wasted time. The first question of the day can be, “Will we be here for the full day?”

My response is usually, “We’ll be here until we finish the material.” Inside my head, I’m saying, “Why do you even bother coming if you’re not interested?”

What also goes on inside my head is a process of thinking, “How do I get this person engaged?” As a facilitator, I believe it’s my responsibility to make the material engaging, the session engaging, and the outcome worthwhile for everyone involved.

However, that being said I still like to know why people come to sessions, sometimes of their own choice. So, why do you take courses? If you weren’t required to take courses to retain certificates or licenses, would you choose to go to a webinar, seminar or workshop?

I just attended a webinar from the other side of the world where the facilitator talked about how those of us who give seminars and workshops must change from old paradigms to new ways of presenting material. In an ideal world, how would you like to receive your ongoing education?