Are you guilty of playing the Blame Game? Unfortunately many of us are, and may not be aware of it. It’s an ugly game that no one wins. Although it can happen in any type of work-related situation, it tends to be even easier to lay blame when you’re working with people virtually.
There’s a learning curve of not only how each person works, but how you will work together. It’s easy to blame the person on the other end when they are not directly working in front of you; text messages and emails can easily be misinterpreted. There are steps you can take in the beginning to avoid playing the game altogether.
Take responsibility. If something went wrong because of your lack of direction, is it really the other person’s fault? Take a step back and see what went wrong and where; not to prove who’s fault it is, but to learn from what happened so it doesn’t happen again.
Delegate. Many times we get so wrapped up in deadlines that we don’t take the time to create a plan of action and delegate effectively. Lay out in advance who will be in charge of what. Your duties may cross over or change over time, but there needs to be a starting point.
Create expectations. Are expectations being laid out on the table or are you assuming the person knows what the next step should be? Don’t blame someone for not doing something properly if you didn’t have the foresight to open communication lines from the start. Be sure to lay out your expectations for the project and team members.
Be specific. Not everything is the same to each person. Being vague on directions or expectations leaves a project wide open for diversity; which may not be what you’re goal is. Being specific doesn’t mean being inflexible; it will help bring clarity to a project or timeline.
Offer guidance. Giving some guidance in the beginning of any working relationship is a step in the right direction. Offering the knowledge you have may be helpful to get a project off the ground.
Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as soon as they arise. If a deadline isn’t met, you need to ask why. If something wasn’t done the way it was supposed to be, you need to ask why. If a task or project isn’t being handled like you think it should, is it fair to place blame on someone before you find out the reason behind it? There’s always a reason, but you’ll never know the answer if you don’t take the time to ask the question.
Communicate-Communicate-Communicate. The bottom line to every point here is communication. Open lines of communication helps stop the blame game before it can start.
Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re looking for information on working with a Virtual Assistant for yourself or to help with a project, give her a call today at (440) 973-7005.