Conquer Conflict At Work/Conflict Mis-Styles #2: Blamer

Friday, March 10, 2023

Conflict Mis-Styles #2: Blamer

Challenges to Resolving Conflict Resolution often exist because of how people engage with conflict. Learn how to work with participants who use blame as their coping strategy to resolve conflict faster

Conflict Mis-Styles: Blamer

This is the second article of a 7 part series exploring 7 common Mis-Styles of Conflict Resolution to help you become a Better Leader through elevating your Communication. Subscribe and Comment

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The 7 Conflict Mis-Styles are ineffective ways of thinking and behaving when faced with difficult situations. They are learned patterns of behavior, often rooted in survival and preservation of self (ego, reputation, image, etc).

The person who adopts one or more of these mis-styles does so because they have a false belief that it will resolve issues; however, the use of conflict mis-styles fosters ongoing negative working relationships and diminishes your effectiveness as a leader.
Today's mis-style is the Blamer.

Often disguised as the "I'm right and you are wrong" position, the blamer will say things like:

  • ​What were you thinking!?!! (because it was obviously not right)
  • ​Every time I work with you, all hell breaks lose (you are the reason why things suck)
  • ​OMG = if you just listened to me, we would not be in this mess (I am all knowing and seeing)

Blaming is an expression of disapproval indicating there is a right and wrong way to do things and blamers strive to find fault with what another person thinks, believes, or does.

Various aspects of our lives act as the backdrop for blame. It may be our moral or ethical obligations, social norms, role expectations or cultural beliefs serving as our source of information.

The irony is, blamers are looking to exercise their power and gain control. This is the lie our ego tell us. Be bigger, talk louder, don't let them see you sweat, but in reality, blamers lose credibility, trust, and influence.

Robert Anthony sums up the impact of blaming with this powerful (pun intended) quote:

"When you blame others, you give up the power to change"



Why do people blame others?

When faced with a stressful moment, one of our learned responses is to defend ourselves, our thoughts, our beliefs by projecting blame on others first.

  • ​The ego made me do it! It is thought to be a layer of protection as we work to preserve our sense of identity / image, self-esteem (how I feel about myself) and self-worth (how I hold myself in terms of others).
  • ​​Blamer's may be hurting deeply themselves and lack the safety, self awareness, or emotional insights to work through the experience. They project their pain onto another person, and you may not be the source of their pain, but you are in the right place at the wrong time.
  • ​​Avoiding responsibility for a situation because they feel it is a weakness and they may be experiencing quilt or shame around the incident.

How to identify someone who is a Blamer

There are some tell tale signs that the person is working from the blaming mis-style.

  • ​​Listen for how they frame the problem. Blaming focuses on "you"statements and judgment words such as "should, always, and never"
  • ​Can they understand the other's perspective? Likely not. When in the blaming energy, we lack the ability to understand another perspective because we see things as right v wrong, black and white.
  • ​Heightened emotional energy. They are often in the throws of an emotional (amygdala) hijack and are acting in their fight or flight mode. Their tone of voice, body language, and expression may seem excessive for the context.

The Risks of Using the Blamer Mis-Style

Perhaps the most obvious risk is the quality and health of your relationships and leadership. It may feel like you are winning the battle, but you will surely lose the war, and maybe your job.

You expose yourself to the risk of retaliation and escalating conflict that may involve verbal assaults and physical violence. The additional resentment felt towards a blamer can destroy safety, trust, intimacy and negatively impact self-esteem.

If your organization is not mentoring someone to opt for healthier ways of dealing with conflict, a blamer can be costly as employees productivity drops and errors increase, morale is impacted, turnover rates increase and costs for sick leave, short/long term disability rise.

In the healthcare setting this means patient's experience increase morbidity and mortality as healthcare professionals develop work arounds, that never work as well as a healthy relationship.


Your Better Leader Moment

Blaming others has the illusion of power but the reality is you are rendering yourself powerless as you put the work of resolution onto the shoulders of the other person.

Interpersonal problems require interpersonal solutions, so today's Better Leader Moment is designed to help you relocate that energy into real influence. Whether you see yourself as the blamer or you feel you have a blamer in your team, ask yourself these questions

  • ​When I am in conflict and I choose to blame others for the problem, what am I covering up?
  • ​How can I empower myself to be a part of the solution? What can I do to change the situation?
  • ​Am I focused on winning the argument or solving the problem? Where is my focus?

Do you resonate with the Blamer Mis-Style? Are you wanting to be a Better Leader and improve your communication skills?

Book a Discovery Coaching Session and let's explore how I can help you.

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Thursday, June 01, 2023

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Friday, May 19, 2023

From Bystander of Workplace Conflict to Culture Champion

Thursday, May 11, 2023

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Thursday, May 04, 2023

Steps Leaders Can Take to Create a Bully Free Culture

Thursday, April 27, 2023

TALKsick Workplace Behavior: Withholding Information, and What You Can Do About It

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Responding Professionally to Public Criticism

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Coaching Employees to Gracefully Resolve Conflict: Case Study

Friday, March 10, 2023

Uncovering the Core Values at the Heart of Conflict

Friday, March 10, 2023

Conflict Mis-Styles #7: Downplay

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