When you blame others, you give up your power to change.
DR. ANTHONY ROBERTS
According to Dr. Nell Farber at Psychology Today, The Guinness Book of World Records has cited The Blame Game as the world's oldest game. The story of the Garden of Eden may come to mind when Adam blames Eve and Eve then blames the serpent when they get caught by God after eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.
Blaming didn't didn't work out so well for Adam and Eve and it doesn't help us, either.
The Blame Game—blaming someone or something else when it's actually our own fault— is actually quite dysfunctional. First, it shifts the cause of something outside of or away from ourselves. When we do that, not only are we not getting the best picture of reality, but we shut down openness to learn and change.
I've seen leaders play The Blame Game in a variety of circumstances. Here are some times I've seen blaming from leaders:
I remember a time when a leader actually changed his expectations about a series of small group presentations after the presentations had already been given and then blamed the presenters for not living up to those expectations. The list of times when any one of us have or may play The Blame Game is probably endless.
Of course we play The Blame Game as a way to help us feel better about something. Blaming can occur in response to anxiety, threat, loss, disappointment, hurt, and feelings of powerlessness. It's also a way to uphold self-image and protect self-esteem. No one wants to look bad.
As F. Diane Barth, psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, wrote, "if we’re responsible for the problem, we can change our own behaviors or attitudes or thoughts, or feelings to make things better. And if we think that someone else is responsible, then all we have to do is change them, and everything will be fine."
Besides making other people feel defensive, guilty, or angry, blaming blocks addressing what is your actual reality.
Psychotherapist, interfaith minister, and author, Nancy Colier, says that whenever we have the impulse to blame, ask ourselves two questions:
1) If I couldn’t blame in this situation, what would I have to feel?
2) What about that feeling is hard to feel?
When we shift from external causes and blaming and look inward to our own role, while we may have to face some difficult feelings, we open the space for learning, growth, and change.
Avoid blaming and own your power—even if that means having to face some tough feelings and issues.
Have an amazing journey today!
Alan Mikolaj is a coach and leadership development consultant with 15+ years of experience. He is passionate about helping leaders transform their leadership, their teams, and their organizations. Impactful, professional approach driven by a passion for meaning and purpose, a growth mindset, and a commitment to excellence and service in order to drive change and results.
Alan maintains the ethics and standards of behavior established by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), including the standards regarding confidentiality. You can learn more about them on the ICF website.
Transformational change starts with a conversation!
Schedule your free, one-hour session by clicking here: Discovery Conversation with Alan
Or call or email me: Contact Page
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
Free Discovery Conversation!
Impactful change starts with a conversation! Schedule your free, one-hour session by clicking here: Discovery Conversation with Alan
Or call or email: Contact Page
In his third book, A Travel Guide to Leadership, Alan offers you simple, fundamental, and powerful lessons that have the power to transform you, your relationships, and your career.