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THE BLAME GAME

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 27, 2014

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– An acute case of projectionism.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Some call it “finger pointing,” others refer to it as “the blame game,” but it is more rightfully defined as “projectionism” as derived from psychology. This is where a person defends himself from accusation by blaming others. President Obama is often accused of deflecting responsibility by blaming others, but it is not my intent to turn this into a political piece. Quite often in projectionism, the person honestly believes others have caused the problem, and does not believe he is lying; see “Pathological lying.”

Projectionism suggests a character flaw as it has been related to narcissistic personality disorder. (“excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity”Wiki). By casting blame elsewhere, the individual seeks to protect their ego, regardless of who is hurt in the process.

What is bothersome though is we find projectionism not just in politics, but in business, nonprofits, and among our youth. We see this occur when a project comes in late and over-budget, if we produce a fatal design flaw in a product, when we make a common mistake in processing data, when a software program causes a computer to crash, we do something to anger our customers, or whatever. Instead of accepting responsibility, we blame others as well as inanimate objects, such as technology. In school, students blame teachers for not explaining an assignment properly or notifying them of deadlines and test dates. In reality, the teacher did indeed notify the students accordingly. Maybe the dog ate it after all. And when the student’s grades slip because of such excuses, the parents blame the teacher, not their offspring.

Wishing to avoid trouble, it has become natural to feign innocence and suggest the blame belongs elsewhere. Few people own up to their responsibilities and I, for one, admire those who swallow their pride and accept responsibility for their actions. I have more respect for such a person as opposed to those who blame others for their mistakes. At least I can trust the person who admits his mistakes. If you watch the television show, “COPS,” you’ll notice law enforcement personnel are likely to treat the suspect better if he is truthful and admits his indiscretion. When such people “come clean” with the police, they are likely to get a break as the officers appreciate honesty and integrity as it makes their job easier.

Why is this happening? Perhaps it is due to political ideologies which contend it is okay to lie and cheat as long as the means justifies the ends. Or perhaps it is the media clouding our judgement about right and wrong, or that religion is in decline. Bottom-line, this is about eroding morality, denoting a decay in our culture.

What can be done? Simple, do not accept it. Law enforcement officers do not. They have heard all of the excuses before and realize when they are being lied to. The general public is more gullible. If we insist on honesty, that we do not accept blaming others, we can finally determine what the real cause of a problem is and solve it.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to “THE BLAME GAME”

  1. In a discussion such as this, people must understand that the sword has two edges: responsibility and accountability. Some folks confuse those concepts and think they are one and the same. We do not assign responsiblity but we do “accept” it as a condition of the situation. If you want the job, then you take the “responsibility” to see that it is completed or that who you answer to understands why it cannot unless some aspects change. In other words, as in the case of the Obamacare website, you don’t exhaust a million dollars in taxpayer money then launch a “flawed” system just to show that you did something—that is shirking your responsibility and for that action, you are “accountable” along with those above you who are also charged with supervision. To put it into words a child can understand—“you are at fault” by virture of your actions or inactions. In our society today, in our schools, we are telling our children, “no matter what, it is not your fault”. We shield them with this excuse until they have to face life on their own then it is only natural that they would deflect responsibility and accountability when it comes their way. They want to wear the “badge” and sit in the chair by the office door, but they don’t really want to do the dirty work that comes with the responsibility of “being sheriff”. Until we correct this flaw in our culture, it is going to get worse before it gets better. Good write, Tim!

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  2. Kathy said

    Timn, we know that a pathological liar has to do with something far deeper. There is narcissism, arrogance, perfection, persecution beliefs, and the only good liar is the one who HAS to believe whatever he lied about really happened, that way, years later, his story will still be the same…you can never scam a scammer.

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  3. […] THE BLAME GAME […]

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