Personal Accountability-The Way Out of the Blame Game

Are you feeling frustrated, tired of others making mistakes that make your life more difficult, wishing away the day due to all the incompetent people around you? Many days of asking yourself…why do they do it that way? Why don’t they talk to the people who actually do the job? Why must I always have to do it myself to get it done right?”

Wouldn’t it be nice to be free from the blame game? The answer to making it better doesn’t actually lie within others…it lies within ourselves. How is this possible? I do my job!

I recently went through John Miller’s training on personal accountability and the question behind the question to discover what it takes to have a more productive work environment without the frustration that goes with blaming others.  It starts by helping us to be responsible for only what WE can control.  We cannot control what others do…whether it’s bad or not.  We can control how we respond to it, though.  Learning to control our emotions starts the journey to a less stressful day. It also allows for focusing in on a productive response that can lead to a solution.

We begin to look at problems from a different perspective. Did anything I said or did contribute to the situation at hand? What piece can I own or do differently to create a better outcome in the future?

When we ask “why” questions…there is no real step to a solution. It often leads to negative thinking or blaming. Our frame of mind takes on a clouded lens through which we see others doing things out of incompetence…maybe even intentionally. We become victims. This can lead to a firestorm of emotions from frustration, annoyance, and eventually anger.

Asking “what” or “how” helps us find solutions.  How did this happen? What could have been done differently? Using caution to find where things became disconnected and choosing to only focus on what you can control leads to a more fulfilling work environment. Losing the victim mentality helps us take charge of our situations and turn them into productive conversations with mutual benefits.

This can not only improve your workplace culture but it is extremely helpful in the classroom.  As a CTE professional, utilizing all tools to improve problem solving, communication, and engagement with students is a win-win! Have your students practice using “what” and “how” questions instead of “why” to improve the culture of your classroom.


Wendy Perry

Administration Division Experienced Fellow