How to Handle the Blamer
A manager interacts daily with different personalities, either other managers or their team members, and has to figure out an effective way to act with others. There are numerous traits employees exhibit while at work and one of them is an individual who blames others or situations for their performance or behaviors. Blamers can create a negative workplace for others and handling this type of person in a timely manner is important for any change in their focus.
Not all blamers are alike. There are your chronic blamers and situational blamers.
This type of person chooses to project outward all issues as being caused either by environment or others. Complainers and blamers will let you know their job is difficult. Blamers will let you know why they are not performing at their best. Catching this behavior right at the beginning will be helpful in minimizing this behavior.
This type of blamer may actually be impacted by others and the work environment and can’t perform their responsibilities. If an employee starts to blame others, when they previously didn’t exhibit this type of behavior, it’s time to do your research as to the reason for the change.
Whichever type of employee you are dealing with – chronic or situational – you need to have one important skill in your “managing employees” toolbox and that is the ability to listen. Whenever an employee comes to you, they want you to listen to them. In being mindful of their issue(s), you can find out if there is a legitimate workplace issue or whether it’s an indication of the employee’s behavior.
Ways to Decrease Blaming
- First and foremost, listen to the employee’s issues. Without this first step you will not be able to effectively handle the problem. If the blamer has a legitimate issue, then help solve the problem with the employee. If not, it’s time to counsel the employee to change their behavior.
- Counsel the employee on how their behavior is impacting performance as well as potentially creating a negative work environment. Blamers feel justified in their perception, and may not be open right away to taking ownership of their behavior. See if you can get them to figure out another way to handle issues that they face during their work day. For example, some blamers are just overly sensitive and have a hard time working where there is a lot of talking and noise. They may blame another who talks a lot and distracts them. This is when open discussion with the employee is helpful.
- Be aware of a blamer who talks about others. This isn’t behavior you want to promote. Maybe they need a lot of recognition and are boosting their own value by decreasing others. A blamer usually has a lower self-esteem and recognition may help them. Whatever the reason, make sure you let them know this isn’t acceptable behavior.
- In coaching/counseling employees, keep in mind that you want to support an employee to help them with their performance or behaviors. Employees need to know they are responsible to make the change.
- Close out all conversations with an employee with them taking ownership on the next steps for them to meet the expectation and either increase performance goals or change their blaming behavior. Your job is to keep them accountable for the change.
Keep it simple when dealing with employees: listen, coach/counsel around expected performance or acceptable behaviors in the workplace, and keep them accountable for the change.
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