Examples of “decision deferral” and “blame game mastery” exist everywhere we look. The Government tends to shift blame rather than assuming ownership of most situations – and (sadly) the American People tend to accept that transfer as being acceptable. The current Administration blames our past President for creating the crisis in care within the Veteran’s Administration because when we began the war in Iraq during the past presidency we did not anticipate the increased need for care so “it is not our fault” that there are more veterans in need than there are providers to care for them. Our past State administration blamed the previous governing body for our financial woes – then took credit for any gains by claiming that the turnaround was a result of implementing initiatives started during their time in office. Rare is the politician who will say, “It does not matter who caused the situation – we must work together to identify the root cause of the problem so we can concentrate on its resolution rather than focusing on fault.”
On a personal level, individuals within failing (or suffering) relationships often blame others on their “position in life,” think “if only something else had happened differently, I would be in a different place,” or simply walk away rather than assuming part of the blame. Many people feel vulnerable when they accepting blame rather than shift it to others. “It is not MY fault!” is far easier to say than “I am sorry – I was wrong.” An apology should be the beginning of a new direction rather than the end of a poor choice. It is not a conclusion – it is a fresh start. Too many people feel they need to avoid all appearance of being “human” (making mistakes, expressing doubt, changing a direction should the conditions change) if they want to be respected –that “being right” trumps “being real” when it comes to relationships.
At work, many examples of responsibility shift exist. Seemingly competent managers sometimes tell staff to
“look busy” because “top management” is out to cut staff and “we don’t want that to happen to us” when orders begin to drop. By building a bond of mutual fear with staff, these managers avoid the “blame bullet” but will never become leaders. Rather than becoming part of the solution their deferral of responsibility has made them an unexpected part of the problem. A leader will “take the bull by the horns” and face reality by confirming that things are tough (staff probably already knows this), telling them that something must happen to change the current situation (insanity is doing things the same way expecting different results), and painting a realistic picture of what might happen unless an alternative is identified. It does not really matter WHO is to blame or WHY the situation currently exists (if, indeed, it was the fault of another). What DOES matter is what will (or can) be done to move from where we are (regardless of why we are there) to where we want to be.