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Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

The Shame of Blame

February 5, 2023

by Robert Stevenson

The definition of blame is to “place the responsibility for a fault, error, etc.” The problem in some companies today is most of their so-called leaders put the majority of their effort in casting blame on others rather than finding a solution. I once heard a comedian say, “The secret of success is knowing who to blame for your failures.”

Why do we blame others? Casting blame on others is a defense mechanism. It helps us preserve our sense of self-esteem or pride by avoiding awareness of our own problems or mistakes. It is also a major sign of weakness. I have found, over the years, that great leaders take responsibility for the actions of their team and never blame others. Weak leaders always blame others for their failures, but take credit for the success of others … that is backwards. If you want to find your weak leaders, just sit back and listen; they will identify who they are by the blame they will be casting on others when something bad happens.

Success in life is not by chance, it is by choice, so choose to make changes and not give excuses or blame others for your mistakes. Blaming others is simple – taking responsibility is hard and a sign of maturity. Admitting you are wrong is not giving up … it is a sign you are growing up. When you point the finger of blame at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you. If you want to be a great leader, the first thing you should think when your employees make a mistake is … What have I done to cause them to fail?

Blaming others for your mistake is a “shameful” decision to avoid accountability. I decided to do a little research on blame and share a few thoughts with you on the subject. The following are some quotes that should get us all thinking the next time we decide to blame others.

  • Blaming others takes energy from improving yourself.
  • Blaming others actually shuts off your ability to solve the problem.
  • The person who cannot be helped is the person who blames others.
  • When you blame others, you give up the chance to change, grow and succeed.

The winningest basketball coach in NCAA history, John Wooden, had this to say about blame: “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.”

So, before you start off by blaming somebody else for a problem that has occurred, you may want to take a look at yourself first. If a manager will take the blame for what a subordinate did… PROMOTE THEM; they understand Leadership, Teamwork, and Responsibility.

It’s easy to point the Finger of Blame…remember, the first thing a good manager will say is, “What have I done to cause them to fail.” If you want to advance your career, the last thing you would ever want to do is blame others.

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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