Let’s talk about how to eliminate blame culture at work. This subject remains important for every part of the job. Not only will blame culture affect everyday work life, but it also affects recruiting and customer experiences.
After all, it takes five positive experiences to make the brain forget one negative? When applied to office politics, a recent study shows that when you experience negative feedback or are blamed for an error, it has an impact. Your mood and motivation are five times more negative than when you receive praise, resulting in a blame culture that can be hard to shake.
Blame culture is defined by The Oxford Review as “an environment where people, or groups/teams of people, are frequently singled out and blamed, criticized and fault is apportioned for mistakes and errors.” Our brain processes negative feedback the same way it does a physical attack, meaning that continued blame can result in a fear-based culture.
Blame culture nurtures low morale
In the short term, blame culture results in low morale and a lack of motivation, however, if not rectified it can result in an environment where workers become afraid to voice opinions or discuss mistakes that can benefit wider team learning.
For new graduates or for those in their first jobs, it can be extra detrimental. Stifling creativity and innovation, an environment that is not open to mistakes is also not open to collaboration and growth. Effectively, without the safety net of a supportive culture, you’ll become less likely to suggest creative solutions.
How can blame culture be stopped before it takes hold of an organization? This is insidious and can only be rectified from the top down. Let’s talk more about it.
Share mistakes with a post-project debrief
Learn from your experience. The best way to make that happen? Use a post-project debrief led by senior management. This helps to grow a culture of learning. Discussing aspects of a project or task that were both successful––and not so successful––will help you to learn, while also encouraging you to make calculated decisions.
Discussions that are conducted in a fair, open, and equitable way will also prevent pointing the finger of blame.
Think about when you apply to grad school. If you miss a deadline, you don’t focus on the person who messed up. You figure out what you need to do to get your application submitted before the deadline.
Focus on what you can change
When discussing mistakes and unsuccessful business decisions, team leaders and senior management should focus more heavily on the elements that can be changed, rather than those that are done and dusted.
Examining what can be changed will help foster a culture of ideas, where you’ll feel more supported in suggesting ideas that can impact the project’s outcome.
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Eliminate blame, focus on the future
Decisions may come from one person, but in any team project, each member is as responsible for success as the next.
Blaming one member of the team for a mistake is not helpful and will impact team morale for a long time. Instead of focusing on blame, look at focusing on the outcome. Determine what went wrong. Don’t linger on who caused it. Give the benefit of the doubt, review the process that allowed it to happen, then change the process.
Recognize where you flourish
If you need a collaborative and innovative culture to do your best work, then you need to take a hard look at your company’s environment and ask if you’re flourishing? If you feel brow-beaten and attacked by a pervading culture of blame then it might be time to go to a company where you can grow personally and professionally.
The GradCafe Job Board is full of opportunities for new graduates and those in their early career stages. Three roles at innovative companies are highlighted below, but be sure to visit the job board to find your perfect fit.
Data Analyst, Peloton, New York
Peloton is looking for a data-driven analyst to join its Lead Gen team, which is responsible for acquiring new, high-quality leads that drive efficient demand for Peloton products. This role touches every product and sales channel with a direct impact on revenue. This role is a unique blend of acquisition/growth marketing and data/analytics and plays a critical role in holistic reporting, measurement, and analysis of lead gen metrics and KPIs. The ideal candidate will have experience working with large data sets and conducting business modeling/analysis. Find more information about this role here.
Software Engineer Internship, Ramp Financial, New York
Ramp is building the next generation of finance tools, designed to save businesses time and money with every click. It is currently looking for full stack and platform engineering interns who are excited to be part of this early story and can help to build a diverse and vibrant tech community. The ideal candidate will have a strong sense of ownership and enjoy owning projects from inception to scaling in production. Find more information here.
Graduate Structural Engineer, Kubala Engineers, Houston
Kubala Engineers specializes in comprehensive structural engineering planning and design services, including structural assessments and forensics investigations. The company is currently seeking a Graduate Engineer/EIT to work under direct supervision to aid the structural project design team in the coordination and design of various structural building projects during the design and construction phases. The ideal candidate will have a college degree and a minimum of two years of progressive structural engineering experience as it relates to building design. Click here to apply or discover more information about the requirements.
Explore The GradCafe Job Board to find your next great career opportunity