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FIX THE PROBLEM NOT THE BLAME

fixThe existence of a culture of blaming is endemic to our management environment in Trinidad and Tobago. Too many managers and supervisors are spending too much time in seeking to establish who is to blame when something goes wrong rather than spending time fixing the problem.

Time is money! To keep seeking to fix blame is a misuse of the productive and expensive time of people in your organization and creates an environment of conflict, arguments and interpersonal disharmony thereby leaving the opportunity open for customer dissatisfaction and disaffection. When so called responsible and intelligent people in an organization keep arguing as to who is to blame rather than getting together to fix the problem, it is the customer who is neglected.

To fail to satisfy the customer is to invite the customer to go elsewhere. Not only does the customer go elsewhere, but a dissatisfied customer is very likely to share his bad experience with as many as would give an ear, and most likely until he finds a solution to his problem elsewhere.

It is not that as a manager you should not be interested in why the problem occurred and who is responsible. These are important to know if the people and the organization are to learn from their mistakes and grow as an organization. But consider, what good is there in blaming. It is far more important to emphasize responsibility. Blaming is about accusing. When someone is accused, he/she is very likely to engage in defending against the accuser. The result is tension, “cuss off” and stand offs and maybe even violence. The atmosphere becomes charged with hate and affects motivation. In the circumstance the problem that is to be fixed fails to get the energy and attention it requires.

To emphasize responsibility rather than blaming is most likely going to result in persons paying greater attention to fixing the problem, since no one truly would want to be regarded as an irresponsible human being or employee. In addition, it is far easier to discipline an employee if the emphasis is on responsibility, since hopefully, the job description would have indicated the areas of responsibility and the standards of performance desired.

Blaming and the blaming culture arises in the first place because the employee has not been made aware of his responsibilities. It is necessary to have proper job descriptions and standards of performance. If not, a great deal of your organization time will be spent in allocating blame, in destroying each other thereby creating mistrust and management waste.

In any event when a problem arises, your first management response should always be to fix the problem and not first to allocate blame. The latter defeats the purpose of the organization!

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