You are currently viewing 5 negative impacts of a blame culture

5 negative impacts of a blame culture

How do you respond when a problem occurs?

Do you leap into action and go into full solution mode?


Do you look around and try to figure out who is to blame?

If you go down the blame path this can have damaging results for your team, your company and ultimately for you. Here are 5 negative outcomes you can experience by taking the path of naming and shaming.

Limits Your Ability To Find A Solution

Pointing the finger not only detracts you from finding the solution it actually put the onus onto the person who is to blame to resolve the issue. This giving away of ownership of the problem will actually stop you from becoming involved in solving it, often because to do so might be perceived as tacit acceptance that you are somehow at fault and you don’t want that.

Good leaders take ownership of problems no matter where they come from, they know that ultimately the buck stops with them and its better to be in solution mode as this will speed up the resolution of the issue.

Generates a Toxic Culture

Leadership defines culture and if leaders are quick to blame others in the team will very quickly jump on this bandwagon, often using the opportunity to cover up their own mistakes by pointing their fingers at others. This creates an atmosphere of fear and distrust which ultimately creates a toxic environment.

As leaders, we need to make sure that not only do we not participate in this type of behaviour but that we look to stamp it out whenever we see it, and show that we do not accept nor condone that kind of behaviour.

Reduces Employee Engagement

Who wants to work in a toxic environment?

The answer is hardly anyone.

For those that cannot leave the team, they will just simply lower their involvement, commitment, and engagement. People will stop to volunteer for fear of being made a scapegoat if anything goes wrong.

Because the best way to avoid being blamed is to not be involved.

It’s far better to create an environment where teams feel safe, to encourage people to admit to mistakes and have people focused on solutions not scapegoating. This will drive involvement and engagement.

Decreases Results

If people are worried about being blamed, then they are going to try and do the minimum and for anything that they do get involved in they’re going to want to make sure that if it does go pear-shaped they won’t be to blame. This not only reduces their input and dilutes it by allocating time to covering their ass, all of which is going to have a direct impact on results.

When you eliminate the blame game and are supportive this encourages people to participate and collaborate and focus all of their efforts on getting the job done, which will have a positive impact on their levels of output and results

Impacts Your Ability to Lead

Trust is a cornerstone of leadership, and leaders who blame are seen to be abusing their position and the trust that their teams have in their leader. When you lose the trust of your team, you lose your ability to influence them, to motivate them and ultimately to lead them.

Good leaders nurture their teams. They give them the room to grow, they challenge them and give them opportunities. Part of that growth involves making and learning from mistakes and you need to create an environment where people feel support and safe to maximize their growth.

Gordon Tredgold

Gordon Tredgold is a leadership transformation expert ranked #25 in Global Gurus Top 30 leadership gurus for 2019. Over his 25-year career Gordon has led teams of 1000+ staff in Fortune 100 companies, delivered operational cost savings of $350m and transformed delivery (from <35% to 95 %) and service levels (from 57% to 99.7%). A critically-acclaimed author, Gordon's latest book, FAST: 4 Principles Every Business Needs to Drive Success and Achieve Results, was a finalist for Management Book of the year 2017. He is a regular contributor for Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fortune and Business Insider and an international keynote speaker, recognised by Inc. Magazine as a top 100 leadership expert and speaker. Gordon works with organisations to transform culture, drive results-based leadership and rapidly accelerate organisational growth and performance.