Pop quiz. You’ve missed a major deadline for an important business partner and you’re called to account. You:
a) blame the dog;
b) blame the other person; or
c) apologize and take accountability to correct the situation.
Selma was using every reason she could think of to defend herself. The deadline had been missed and the Board was angry. With each reason she gave she looked more and more disempowered. Like a young girl, who’s only concern is to avoid blame.
Understanding the difference between blame and accountability is one of the foundational steps to success in business; or in relationships in general. To enter into a conversation of blame is disempowering and has you appear as a child. A conversation of accountability is empowering. It simply says “I know that was my responsibility and I take responsibility for the failure regardless of where blame lies.”
At a more subtle level the blame conversation is even more burdensome. Blame, or avoiding blame, requires the carrying of an emotional burden. The internal debate draws your focus inward on self protection, not outward on service and community. Fear, nervousness, anxiousness all focus inward on your own needs. All are disempowering.
Today’s tip: live outside the blame conversation and take accountability whenever appropriate. The person who takes accountability has for more personal power and respect than the one who avoids blame.