Being Unfairly Blamed at Work

How to deal with a boss who blames you for doing exactly what they told you to do.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #63

When Stakes Are High, Pacify Without Taking the Blame.

Sometimes, admitting guilt could have legal or career consequences. Let’s say you’re negotiating a big deal and your boss changes the deal terms at the last second. When the other party pulls out, boss-man gets furious and tries to blame you for it. Don’t take the blame! In this case, it could hurt your career.

Do acknowledge the facts and acknowledge your boss’s feelings. “Wow. The deal fell through. You’re upset, I’m upset. What do you think we should do?” You are still acknowledging your boss’s feelings, but you are carefully not admitting any fault that could open you up to liability or legal action.

In Relationships, of Course It’s Not Their Fault

In your private life, you may also find yourself getting into right/wrong games with your husband, wife, spousal equivalent, or polyamorous family unit. In those cases, of course your spouse is always right! What else could possibly be the case? Practice saying “Yes, dear.” “Of course, dear.” “You’re right, dear!” “I don’t know, what do you think?” If you’re right and you fight, you’ll win and spend the next six months groveling to repair the damage to the relationship. If you’re right or wrong and you submit gracefully, you’ll get lots of hugs and snuggling. For me, at least, the choice is clear.

One resource I highly recommend is the book Difficult Conversations, which will teach how to separate out the blaming and judgment from the facts and feelings around conflict situations. You can find a link to the book in this episode’s transcript at getitdone.quickanddirtytips.com.

So remember: drop the “I’m right” game. No one cares except you. Instead, take the blame if necessary, acknowledge everyone’s feelings, and then move right along to book an even better suite at the Bellagio.

This is Stever Robbins. Email questions to getitdone@quickanddirtytips.com or leave voicemail at 866-WRK-LESS.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!


Image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.