Chapter 16

How Much Blame Can You Take?

We know from Chapter 13 that blame cripples your ability to act. Now let’s discuss it in more detail.

Blame is the opposite of responsibility. Kids blame their parents, employees blame their bosses, the worst salespeople blame their customers, businesspeople blame the economy, and all it does is shift responsibility to someone else. Blame is an energy-draining, counterproductive way of dealing with difficult circumstances. So while, in the last chapter, we talked about accepting your own responsibility and emphasizing responsibility in your organization, we were not talking about blame. Blaming someone else puts you in the position of a victim, like something happened to you outside of your control; therefore, you won’t take action to change your circumstances because it’s somebody else’s problem. Personal responsibility frees you to act because you realize you have the power to create a solution to the problem. Personal responsibility creates opportunity, while blame creates paralysis.

In one of my recent projects, a manager in a company was mad at his boss because the boss wouldn’t do things the way he thought the boss should. In fact, he was so locked into blame that he actually believed he was paralyzed to act until his boss changed. His relentless blaming of the boss paralyzed his own leadership. Instead of courageously leading, he continued to wait for his boss to make the first move. When I asked him if he believed he played any part ...

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