The Blame Game

The basis of blame is called the Fundamental Attribution Theory. This theory describes the error involved in attributing blame and is a valuable asset for a leader’s knowledge base. The basic concept involves blaming mistakes that others make on their personality or individual qualities and the mistakes that we make are blamed on the situation. We give ourselves the benefit of the doubt but not others. This automatic reaction is human nature and the most seasoned and educated of us make this error in judgment.

The best of us recognize our false attribution as it occurs and make proper adjustments in order to be fair to others and to the situation at hand. Understanding that we make this critical mistake is important for leaders because they are solely responsible for influencing the actions and behaviors of their followers.  If the leaders insist on the continuation of this mistake then their team will follow their lead and create a culture of blame.

People make mistakes – some more than others – sometimes mistakes are the fault of individual qualities and other times it’s the situation that creates the error. We need to treat people how we would like to be treated – the blame game creates mistrust and dysfunction within teams. Leaders need to be able to decipher the difference between mistakes that are caused by the situation or individual qualities in order to be effective leaders.

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