Tact is making points without making enemies
As there are two sides to a coin, there are two sides to the age-long practice of blaming also known as finger-pointing:
- The person(s) being blamed
- The person(s) placing blame
The Art of Taking Blames
The worst blame-taking practice, in my opinion, is the classical Samurai and hara-kiri. This is often the most honorable thing for a soldier to do in the Japanese culture, considering the circumstance under which it occurred.
I do not like the practice because the person taking the blame never lives to see the influence of his being responsible.
The intrinsic blessings in taking blames
#1 Blessing: It shows you are RESPONSIBLE. Responsible is one word some are sore afraid of. Yes, being responsible may cost you your position but it opens more opportunity where responsibility is the vital requirement.
#2 Blessing: Showcases you as HONORABLE. In an ideal or realistic environment, where integrity , bravery and respect are virtues, accepting blames on behalf of one’s subordinate, subject, follower or team member is seen as honorable and is one of the easiest way to gain loyal followers (call that #3 Blessing.)
If finger-pointing is considered an art, there are some dynamics expected to be involved. For instance, you are not expected to take all blames hurled in your direction. There are times letting the world know you were obeying orders and whose order you were obeying the wise thing to do.
At other times, you should let a subordinate carry their cross.
On some occasions, you should share the blame amongst the people involved.
Know also the time to involve a boss’ or people’s favorite in sharing blame and when to desist from doing so.
The art of blame taking can be a beautiful learning experience if you have as palettes, deep thinking and good social standing.
The second side of the coin is the art of placing blames.
To master or understand the art of placing blames, the following questions should guide one’s thought:
- When to blame
- How to blame.
- On whom to place the blame.
Why to blame is relative and is dependent on so many factors but the questions above can easily be noted and can enrich a ‘blaming session’ by way of lending to the effectiveness of the blame.
As a rule, never place blame unworthily. That is, do not blame the wrong person for an offence or action they did not commit.
The weakest reason to place blame is to want to avoid responsibility by way of wanting to excuse oneself.
You must also know as part of the fine art of placing blames, when to let another do the blaming you would have done. This is one of the important results of knowing when to blame.
Sometimes, just to have the tool of surprise, you may place blame unexpectedly and or on an unsuspecting individual and at some other times you may decide to blame yourself for what another is expecting a blame for.
Remember karma i.e. what goes around comes around. Whenever you are blaming, how you blame is often more important than the blame, therefore taste your words before you spit them out. Tact is making points without making enemies. Be tactful.
If your blaming will not change anything and almost nothing is at stake, maybe you should just let the sleeping dog lie. This will be the best option rather than make enemies upon nothing.
Never make the mistake of thinking you can shift blames carelessly and that you can blame everyone in the same manner.
Maybe you should borrow a leaf from me. I often blame systems, a program or an idea rather than the people managing them. It is an easy way of escaping unnecessary hatred from the people involved and at the same time you are able to make your point at correcting certain things you see as wrong.
Whenever possible, blame ‘things’ rather than ‘person’. When you will have to blame persons, let them never misunderstand your intention. Make sure you have thought it out well enough so as to empathize with them as well as ‘judge’ them.
Also remember to state that you may be wrong. It may reduce the weight of the blame, but it will also be a wall behind which you can hide in case you blamed the wrong person.
Conclusively, always remember the analogy that whenever you point your forefinger in blaming, you have the other four pointing at you. But let me do a revision of that analogy:
When you point a finger in blaming, three are pointing to you and one – the thumb is pointing outward. This means that, there are some external factors or other persons involved that you may not know. You may even be the ‘factors’.