Blameshifting (BS)This unique swiss army knife of career advancement has been around forever. It is being used this very moment, as you read it, by someone you know, possibly behind your back and you might be on the wrong end of it, so don't sit helplessly. Get it on the fun of it.
Blameshifting has been given much criticism, mainly by moguls of OB advisory, which are committed to crusade it, whilst sustaining their business models. In short, should your organization hire OB experts, they will always find BS, and dispose their $$$ workshops that will eradicate it forever, much like pest control do with roaches.
Yup, you guessed right, it will be back :)
Truth is that BS as a communication tool deserves its credit in being very accessible, effective and egalitarian technique. Mastering it does not involve strenuous training and brings immediate results. All you have to follow is those simple 4 steps:
1) Always anticipate the blame stream coming your way. We mean ALWAYS!!
But let's assume you didn't. Wham! Blame comes your way! What do you do?
2) Mentally separate the fault from the blame and you are golden. Don't stay calm, it might be a sign of acceptance. Be very vocal, hyperactive, and fast. Act genuinely concerned in finding the cosy place for blame stream to traverse and offer your assistance to a blame stream transmitter (usually originator is hidden, or truly unknown) to ensure proper distribution of it.
3) Find a scapegoat from the list of usual suspects. List should be easily accessible, preferably memorized, as blame tends to be vocally transmitted during face to face or telephone meetings, and not only in electronic communication. In case of email, always maintain a locally accessible copy of all documented screw-ups of other people, whether relevant or not.
Top of the blamelist should include people who had been blamed before, chances are it still sticks with them. Whether any previous blame inducing event had been their fault is irrelevant. Initially you might be tempted to accredit new people, as more suitable (eg. having more to do with the process where actual fault originated) for the purpose, but please resist the temptation and proceed
4) If no usual suspects are present in proximity, try to direct blame stream to people noone knows that exist. Heck, you might be doing them a favour, as there is no such thing as bad press. At least they will start getting noticed.
Steps 2-4 should take you less than a blink eye in a case of a meeting, and no more than a minute in case of electronic communication. Timing is crucial.
Note: From time to time initiate the blame stream yourself, like a computer traceroot message, to identify the path which blame traverses through your organization.
Important: Please note that blameshifting is best used on the same corporate level or downwards. In case you are faced with a blame stream that you wish to redirect towards people higher in hierarchy, there is another variant...
Backfire is straightforward but fairly effective extension of the blameshifiting dedicated to corporate survival, that helps mostly when confronted with hierarchy and high emotional payload.
Example: This report should be ready by today! WTF?
Backfire1: You never mentioned any report! Are you all right? (sound genuine). You seemed distressed....
Backfire2: Get off my back! I told you I wasn't going to do it. If you have hard time accepting reality, maybe you should see a doctor or something. You do remember us talking about it, right?
Caution: using this too often might get you fired or promoted, wither way a painful experience.
Backfire experts refrain from any rationale and just repeat :
a) no you didn't
b) it is your fault really
c) i need to escalate it
Don't be afraid to try it out yourself.