Long ago, I slipped up on a planning detail – nothing serious, and fortunately spotted in time to ensure that its impact was minimised. In truth, there was only me, and one other person, who noticed.
So, all good.
But what was really good was a comment that followed, from a lovely colleague who took the attitude of no problem, together we can sort it … it’s not a blame culture here.
It reminded me that I learnt a long time ago that blame isn’t a healthy state to stay in. There’s a difference between holding your hand up and saying, “I’m responsible” and others reproaching you for ever in a woe is us, all is lost forever response.
Over many years, I’ve learnt about blame – as a parent, as a coach, and as a leader. Acknowledging what’s gone before, as well as the inherent emotions for yourself and others that come with it, are important and necessary. But what’s always felt more useful, beyond that acknowledgement, is to work out how to move on … to learn from the mistake, to grow together with someone else, and to then arrive in a much better place.
In the workplace, when we’re challenged on a daily basis to perform, to decide, to problem-solve and to deliver, I appreciate that moving on isn’t always done easily or quickly. But if we’re ever going to get there, our journey is surely helped by the absence of a blame culture, giving us the freedom to own up, speak up and step up.