Sometimes when people mess up at work, they tend to dodge accountability and instead shift the responsibility to someone else.
Joseph Wanda, the CEO, of World Research Company, says bosses shifting the blame to their workers is common in big organisations where employees report to their supervisors who in turn report to the overall bosses.
Wanda says pointing figures at your boss or supervisor for the blame they might have shifted to you is risky. When not handled properly, such scenarios can end in unfair termination if the overall bosses are not keen enough to resolve the situation.
“Everyone messes up at some point, but passing on the blame to someone else is not a healthy response and not many employees can handle it. It is an aggressive way of handling problems at work,’’ Wanda explains.
Ethan Musolini, CEO of Success Africa, says employees need to examine themselves first. If you are working to the company’s expectations and targets originally set with credible evidence that you did what was expected of you, then you can diplomatically handle the situation without bouncing it back to your boss.
Talk to your boss
Musolini says if you know you did your part, then take a step and try to engage in a heart-to-heart conversation with your boss. They might not be willing to talk to you but say what you have to in a respectful but firm way.
In such situations, the tone in which you speak to your boss is very important despite the fact that you are not to blame.
“I am noticing that I keep receiving blame but kindly help me understand the core reason for this to enable me to find a solution,’’ Musolin gives as an example.
Your statements should be said with a tone of seeking to understand and then just listen keenly without prior prejudice, if you can find a good solution, you might end up looking like the hero to your boss.
Protect your career
Josephine Nannyonga, manager at Trnitus3 Tours and Travel says at times you will take on the blame not because you are guilty but as a way of settling conflicts that might arise between you and your bosses. However, she says if the mistake is something beyond control that accepting the blame could put your career at risk then do not take the guilt. And do not try to direct it to your supervisor either.
“In such a dilemma some employees will think trying to point it out to their supervisor will save them. But this is your supervisor’s word against yours. Instead, try to find a solution,’’ Nannyonga explains.
Your supervisor might be in a bad mood but ask them what they need you to do to help solve the problem. She says this shows that you are a team player and ready to help.
Learn to cope
Sandra Nalumu, of CIC Insurance Company, says employees should expect to meet all sorts of challenges but all they need is learn to how to cope. She says some things happen to test how long you can hold on or how persistent you are. If the boss makes a habit of blaming you, do not just quit.
“Ask yourself how many times will have to quit, if everyone starts to blame you,’’ she advises. It might not be easy but try talking to your boss about your concerns because sometimes your boss may not realise just how difficult he /she is making it hard for you.
Facts, not people
According to Wanda, keeping harmony with your boss should be the number one priority for every employee. Instead of pinning your boss or fellow employees show facts of what might have gone wrong. Be honest and diplomatic. Especially when you are not sure of who made the mistake.
Do not assume the worst
Nalumu says some employees lack confidence in themselves and each time they are called upon to explain or answer some question of what might have gone wrong, they already appear guilt by facial expression. This is enough evidence to pin you down.
However, Nalumu says whenever a boss calls you, it is not to accuse you, sometimes they are seeking solutions from you. But when you immediately become defensive, you may end up making the situation worse.
Musolini says it is best not to pass on the blame to other people. In workplace interactions, the winners are those who take the blame when it is their fault and find solutions to it.