Sometimes we’re unhappy with the way our leaders are handling a situation. Or maybe we don’t think people are participating the way they should.
So, we blame others for what we see as lacking in them. We reprimand and deride them for not doing what we think they should be doing.
But this is a slippery slope, as it often leads to scapegoating. Here’s why scapegoating ruins your life, and what you can do about it.
Scapegoating Destroys Relationships
We can’t always trust our knee-jerk reactions, at least not in matters of business and negotiation.
When something goes wrong, there will always be the temptation to blame someone else for what happened, rather than taking ownership for the blunder.
In the short term, you might be able to come up with a convincing case as to why it was Joan’s or James’ fault, but in the long run, no one who knows your tendency to assign blame will want to work with you anymore. Plus, your lies will probably be found out at some point.
It’s much easier to gain a negative reputation than to build a positive one. Blaming others will destroy relationships and leave you with a reputation you won’t easily be able to downplay or repair.
Scapegoating Weakens Your Leadership
Avoiding responsibility is human nature. But for entrepreneurs and leaders, it’s simply not the way. Blaming others may make you feel better about a situation temporarily, but it will cause more chaos and confusion among your team than it’s worth.
Good leaders know to take responsibility for everything. They know that everything that happens, happens under their watch. If a team member or employee makes a mistake, the leader recognizes that something was missing in how the project was originally communicated.
A good leader isn’t someone who is constantly looking for something or someone outside of themselves to assign blame to. A good leader is someone who is willing to step up and take responsibility, no matter the mistake or its consequences.
Scapegoating Stifles Your Progress
If you value your personal growth, understand that scapegoating is lazy. Instead of looking at your own faults, or thinking about what you could have done differently to have things work, it has you focusing on the perceived deficiencies of others. How can you grow when you’re not focused on bettering yourself?
You may feel that exploiting the weaknesses of others will help you get ahead, and it might for a while. But if you keep it up, the only thing you will get better at is scapegoating. You won’t improve in other ways that might matter to you.
Stop Ruining Your Life – What to Do
If you’re ready to change, observe these steps:
- Accept responsibility. Start taking ownership of more things. It doesn’t need to be anything huge. For instance, take responsibility for the fact that the garbage wasn’t taken out yesterday, whether it was your fault or not.
- Take on some solo assignments. In a situation where you’re the only one working on the project, you can’t blame anyone else for failure (well, you can, but you’ll just look foolish).
- Give up positional leadership. Just because you’re a manager, C-suite executive or even an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a great leader. Let go of the title and instead commit to your growth in this area. Consume materials by the likes of John Maxwell and Robin Sharma.