August 13, 2014 Melinda Longoria, MSM
The Bad Boss lives by the blame game motto: NEVER be the target of any blame. Always doll out the blame to your subordinates, absentees, or outsiders. In the Bad Boss’s mind, these tactics will build your self-esteem and help you get further in your career. This article is an encyclopedia of blame in the workplace that anyone, at any level of their company, and at any stage of their career, can benefit from reading because playing the blame game ALWAYS works.
When your next team project fails, and it will (because you’re the Bad Boss), there are many strategies for dishing out the blame. Who is to blame? It’s always someone else’s fault, but NOT yours! The blame and responsibility should be distributed individually or collectively to your group. Don’t allow your employees to determine your career success or failure! It is not difficult to play the blame game. When your boss starts to ask questions, save your skin and cover your butt!
The Accountability Policy
At Bad Boss, we “recommend” that you first implement a department “Accountability Policy”. – Help people take responsibility by having an accountability policy for your office to create a culture of blame. This will assist in setting the stage for your expectations when things go wrong. People avoid responsibility for many reasons, like laziness, fear of failure, or size of the problem. In your policy, make it clear that employees will be terminated who make excuses, miss deadlines, or fail to take responsibility because it hurts the well-being of the team. In any case, if your employees shirk responsibility, they’ll ultimately fail in their jobs which will put your name on the line. The latter reason is the most important and should motivate you to address the issue before it ever becomes a problem.
Here are the top five ways to allocate blame like a Bad Boss:
- Blame ANYONE, ANYTIME, for ANY REASON – Blaming People for The Wrong Things, For NO Reason, at the Wrong Time. When you’re a bad boss, there is never a wrong time to blame an employee for any reason; even for the wrong things. It doesn’t matter if the employee did or did not do what you are blaming them for. The point is to make them the scapegoat to save your own skin. Never allow yourself to be in the direct line of fire; sacrifice your subordinate instead. If you’re looking for an easy target, pick a passive member of your team. This person will have a reputation as a doormat and will not stand up for themselves when they are being attacked by your blame game. But really any man just standing by will do!
- Blame the Last Guy – Were you recently promoted to your current position? When problems come up, just blame the last guy who had your job. Even if he wasn’t let go, demoted, or otherwise removed, you can still blame him! Was he promoted to a better position or elevated in your company? All the same, he’s fair game to be blamed for your teams problems. After all, if the last guy was so wonderful, he wouldn’t have left the department in the disorder that you now find. He is responsible for hiring the performance problems now in your department. He is at fault for leaving the unresolved issues in your inbox. Tell your team, to get the focus off them, they need to agree with you that the last guy was incompetent. This will give your team hope that you will be better.
- Blame it on Your Customers or Vendors: Your vendors and service providers are an easy target to blame because they cannot effectively defend themselves. Therefore, blaming an outsider is a workable solution. If your business’s reputation is on the line, blaming the outsiders will help the executive team to avoid some pretty unpleasant realities and has very few political backlashes.
- Blame it on Technology – There are many choices for making an IT related accusation, which include placing the blame with the network, storage, an application, database, hardware, etc. Sometimes these complex systems break even when everyone did what they were supposed to. Therefore, you are quite safe in placing the blame with IT. Nearly everyone understands that IT failures happen and often. Even if you’ve used this excuse before, when IT fixes a problem it doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk of another incident. “To err is human – and to blame it on a computer is even more so.” – Robert Orben.
- Point the Finger Back – If someone blames you for something, just point your finger back at them and say, “No, it’s your fault”. You may follow up by explaining that “your interpretation of the problem is not the same as my interpretation of the problem”. Point out any inconsistencies in what they say or do and defend yourself. “If somebody’s pointing a trembling finger at your pants and saying you shouldn’t be doing that, follow that finger back, go up the arm and look at the head that’s behind it because there’s almost always something fairly woolly in there”. – Jock Sturges.
Other ways to play the blame game are to:
- Blame the new guy
- Blame the economy or weather
- Blame the weakest team member
- AND MORE!
Avoid Decision Making
While you are playing the blame game, make sure that you don’t make any decisions. Either go with the suggestions of others or hire in a consultant to make your suggestion. This tactic gives you the added benefit of being able to fire the intern if it fails later, thus ensuring that you remain blame free.
Respect Office Politics
Also, respect your office politics! Don’t let anyone above know that you are avoiding blame. Or if someone senior caused the problem, don’t piss them off by placing blame with them. This could jeopardize your position; so let’s just brush it under the rug. Let us elaborate;we look to blame no one; implying that it would be bad to do so. Never, under any circumstance, ever….blame a senior executive. We’re not into blaming. Therefore, it’s unfair to point the finger at senior management. Instead, you should just look to focus on fixing the problem. If the question comes up, just respond by saying, “I’m not into blaming,” (nudge nudge wink wink), “It’s whats-his-name, but I’m sworn to secrecy. You know blaming is not my style”. And, if someone must be blamed, then hire an external, blame them, and then fire them.
Finally, always have an escape plan to avoid being blamed: take a vacation, sick day, or just duck out. Tell your superior that weren’t there when it went wrong, or as it went wrong, and you don’t know what is going on; but you will get to the bottom of it. Don’t take blame for other’s mistakes; YOU don’t have any!
Disclaimer: Bad Boss posts are meant to be humorous and should not be taken seriously. Taking the high road of honesty and being accountable for your mistakes is the best option in business.
Allocating BlameAvoiding BlameThe Blame Game