Part of being a manager means sometimes having to fall on the sword when it was meant for someone else, new research shows.
A study by staffing services firm OfficeTeam discovered that 30 percent of senior managers have accepted blame in the office for a mistake or problem that wasn't their fault.
Of those who have taken one for the team, 34 percent said they did so because they felt indirectly responsible for the problem, while more than one-quarter revealed they just didn't want to get others in trouble.
Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, said managers would be best served by only taking responsibility for the mistakes they make.
"Sometimes, professionals feel compelled to take the blame for something they didn't do," Hosking said. "Depending on the infraction, being the scapegoat only hurts your own reputation."
To help managers learn when to accept responsibility for problems, OfficeTeam offers five tips for navigating the blame game at work:
- Admit when you're wrong: It's better for managers to acknowledge a mistake they've made than to try to deny it, cover things up or shift the blame. Others may find it easierto forgive and forget if they come clean from the get-go.
- Move on: When something goes wrong, don't get wrapped up in pointing fingers. Focus on what should be done to resolve the issue, and avoid similar problems in the future.
- Don't always be the fall guy (or girl): It's understandable for employees to cover for a colleague from time to time, but try not to make a habit of it. The individuals who made the errors may continue to make mistakes, and the ones who cover for them will be the ones whose jobs could be at risk because they are the ones who appear to making the errors.
- Keep everyone honest: Make sure expectations are clearly outlined for every project. Document each person's responsibilities and contributions, so there's accountability.
- Give credit where it's due: Acknowledge colleagues for their accomplishments, and call attention to group successes. Managers should make sure they're also getting the recognition they deserve by providing status reports.
The study was based on surveys of more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.