There is a whole world of blame that many of us live in and the interesting part is most of us are not even aware that we blame!.
Let’s take a closer look.
Brene Brown, a researcher and an author of repute says, “Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort.”I do believe, it is a subconscious cover-up to avoid facing situations head on! In other words, it is an excuse – a temporary getaway from looking into myself.
As humans, we are very quick to make stories in our head; as soon as an event takes place we are ready with a story. And a lot of times it’s a story of ‘Who is to blame for this and who can we point fingers toward’. We believe that the story we just made up is the truth and react on it, probably in most instances causing more harm than good. Most people are blind to it that the story they just made up is their own and that they created it.
WHAT IS AT STAKE WHEN YOU BLAME?
Power-This is the most important bit, when you blame, you shift responsibility of the situation on someone else. It means, you are indicating that there was nothing you could have done to alter the results and that you were powerless and helpless. Powerlessness gives you no choice and hence there are no actions at your disposal.
Relationships– When you blame; you point fingers. Your relationship with the person you are pointing fingers at gets hurt. The trust the other person may have had on you can get impacted.
Results – There is so much time spent and wasted in blaming and figuring out who is to blame that results that were needed in the first place can get sidetracked. There is a delay in delivering the results and sometimes the results are not delivered at all.
Possibilities – When you indicate you are powerless, you close door for possibilities that you yourself could have been a source of. You indirectly shut yourself from seeing what more could be done to still achieve the results.
GETTING BACK POWER
Blame is the opposite of Responsibility.
The good news in all the seemingly chaotic situations is that instead of blaming if you decide to assume responsibility you regain power to choreograph your next moments. If instead of creating the story “You are the reason this situation is so bad” you create “Let me see what I can do to make this happen” you automatically assume responsibility.
The generative meaning of ‘Responsibility’ is being willing to be the cause in the matter. It means you will make things happen come what may; you are totally committed to the results you wish to achieve and your actions will be inside of this commitment. This stance of being accountable suddenly opens up a whole new world of power, a whole new world of possibilities. These actions were not available to you when you were busy blaming!
BLAME AND RESPONSIBILITY IN A NUTSHELL
|Definition||Is discharging pain and anger||Is willing to be the cause|
|Internal Story people subconsciously make||“It was someone else’s doing, I could not have done anything about it”||“I am accountable and have the power to decide the next course of action to best alter the results.”|
|Emotion||Resignation, frustration, anger||Resolution, courage, ambition, excitement|
|Impact on Trust||Trust between you and the person you have blamed may reduce||Trust between you and the person you have blamed can significantly elevate|
|Impact on the results||Results are delayed||The person assuming responsibility decides and regains power on the results|
|Impact on the possibilities||When there is blame the door to possibilities that can be generated in that instant is shut||When responsibility is assumed, a whole world of choices and actions opens up.|
DO LEADERS BLAME?
My take is; a big No. Leaders take responsibility for the situation and would much rather focus at the task at hand and results they want to achieve. They take care of their relationships and ensure their actions are within what they care for. They embody being powerful in every moment of their life and helplessness is a space they would rather not prefer!
Here are a few questions I would like to leave you with. My suggestion is, give yourself sometime and introspect on them.
- In which areas of my life am I choosing blame over responsibility?
Look deeply into every relation of yours and see what comes up for you.
Do I blame my child for scoring less marks.? Could I have done something there? What can I do now?
Do I blame my subordinates / departments for delayed results.? Could I have done something there? What can I do now?
- What results will I achieve if I assume responsibility in all the above areas?
When you authentically seek answers for these within yourself, chances are you will start to see the power you have to design your future!
Sheeja Shaju, Program Leader and Leadership Coach, Institute for Generative Leadership, India.