Finger-Pointing And Blaming

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Last updated 03 May 10:41

TL;DR

Finger-Pointing and Blaming is the act of blaming someone for a problem instead of trying to fix or take accountability. Which results in a toxic work culture where nobody feels safe, and there's no trust. It is important to combat this problem quickly to establish a healthy and more efficient work environment.

What is Finger-Pointing And Blaming

It was not my fault - Martin did it! He butchered the business analysis. No, it was your mistake! Have you ever heard these sentences during your Stand-Ups? Or when someone asked who is responsible for the missing deadlines. If you experienced these exchanges, then you know what the finger-pointing and blaming is.

Finger-Pointing
Source: Finger-Pointing

Finger-pointing and blaming is visible side effect of Toxic Team Culture that can lead into Not My Problem Mentality and even into Demotivated Team. Watching someone blame others for their mistakes is contagious and detrimental, particularly in the workplace. In an organization where to blame is your norm, people are likely to be less creative, perform poorly, and get unhappy about the team.

When someone is always pointing the finger at their mistakes they can’t learn from those mistakes.

Reasons for Finger-Pointing And Blaming

If things go sour, it is only natural for people to start finding the one to blame. During crises or conflicts, anyone can be tempted to hide away from the issue. Imagine that the team culture is not based on Responsibility and accountability. Then any conflicts or any issue reflections (during Retrospective, for example) have a high chance of finger-pointing and blame-shifting.

Finger-pointing can also be a logical conclusion to unresolved conflicts in your team. If there are self-images involved, things can get emotional and heated.

But in any case, it is a visible side effect of insufficiently set Responsibility in your Team Culture.

How to Minimize Finger-Pointing And Blaming

Finger-pointing at itself is natural and useful thing, in identifying what caused the issue. However, we suggest using internal finger-pointing: What I could do better next time?

  • At the first sign that there is blaming and too much finger-pointing, set a ground rules. Talk with your team that you don't want to blame people and mistakes can happen.
  • Focus on dialog and learning from any mistake. Have people accountable, but don't accuse them or speak badly about them. Not many people enjoy that.
  • Don't waste time on blaming. Instead, analyse the issue. Look at WHAT caused issues and HOW can you fix it.
  • Discuss with the team what happened, what can be LEARNED and how to AVOID this in the future.
  • A team member that can stand for their mistake is valueable, don't punish them or force them away.

Resources For Finger Pointing And Blaming