Do you take responsibility for wrong action or do you blame others?
Ben Dattner with Darren Dahl's The Blame Game: How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure delves into blame and credit in the workplace. Through case studies and examples, Dattner explains what happens when someone takes credit that he/she doesn’t deserve and those who blame others for his/her mishaps.
He writes about the many different personality types at work. There are the extrapunitive, those who typically blame others for their mistakes; impunitive, those who deny blame; and the intropunitive, those who tend to blame themselves.
Within each of these three personality types, there are several more, which Dattner investigates in the book. He also talks about ways in which people react to blame and how constant blame makes an organization dysfunctional.
The Blame Game made me think of a boss I had many years back before starting my own business. The boss intimidated everyone. I never saw so many people cry at work. Everyone was defensive and took the blame for things that they didn’t do. No one was happy and it was a truly dysfunctional workplace. I didn’t want any part of it and quickly left within the first year.
But I also worked at a place where everyone was respected and valued. Working in this type of environment empowered me and I realized that this is the way to operate a business — by having openness and honesty. A workplace like this made me feel as if I could stay there forever. (And I would have stayed at this job had they not merged with another firm and changed their culture.)
How do we blame or take credit? Dattner claims that blame and credit stems from childhood. If a child is praised too much, he says, he/she will fall into the “great expectation trap.” These children may also be afraid of risk for fear of disapproval. And the reverse is true for those who never received praise. Studies show that people take this with them to work and treat their boss or co-workers as if they were family members.