You would think that we would want to look for the cause of problems rather than default to blame. When we look for someone to blame, we create a culture where people hide and lie. The more we focus on looking for the cause, the more open and forthcoming people are.

Looking for a scapegoat or pointing the finger at an individual solves nothing The managers or colleagues say ‘It was Mark, he’s incompetent’ and move on but the organisational problems still exist. Nothing has been solved and more often than not, Mark did not have the proper training, or experience, or resources or information to do the job correctly and competently.

Pointing the finger of blame is often a way of deflecting it from ourselves to others.  Aside from not really solving the problem, it’s an abdication of responsibility. If we never take responsibility for our actions, we do not have to change or do anything different. It happens all the time in both business and our private lives. The product is out of stock; the store assistant blames the delivery team, they blame the warehouse who in turn blame the buyer who then blames the supplier who blames Brexit, Covid-19 or even the weather. The umpire/ referee made a bad call and subsequently we lost the game because of the umpire/ referee, contrasted with we should have trained harder, employed different tactics or paid more attention. In reality what happened should lead to the question why it happened, as the root cause is the key thing to focus on. It is only when we address this then we should hopefully mitigate the same thing happening in the future, so that when the umpire or referee makes a poor decision we are already 2 points ahead or have anticipated or prepared for the potential bad decision being made.

It is a sign of personal resilience and self-belief to focus on the cause of the problem rather than defaulting to blame. Great leaders don’t get distracted by time wasting exercises, instead they focus their time and effort on creating a culture of openness and learning, where mistakes happen once and once only, where people feel trusted, able to speak up and therefore take personal responsibility and accountability for their work. Living your life focused on finding cause instead of blame destresses everyone around you.