With Blame Goes Guilt

Posted by Doc
Nov 07 2009

I was talking to a colleague last night about my thoughts around A Culture of Blame. He was sharing with me one of the tactics used by management, and it occurred to me that it’s hard to live in a culture of blame without also having blame’s counterpart, guilt.

“We’ve made a commitment to our customer, and we must fulfill that commitment.” This frequently means “I made a commitment to our customer, and YOU must fulfill that commitment (or YOU will suffer).”

Poor managers frequently combine blame and guilt as their two weapons of destruction. Rather than think of positive ways to motivate people, they undermine and discourage, somehow believing that this will produce better results.

Research and anecdotal evidence reveal that reward and positive motivation work far, far better than punishment and negative motivation. And yet, there we are.

One of the many things I love about Agile teams is that we move away from blame and guilt to collaboration, support, respect, and motivation.

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3 Responses

  1. […] With Blame Goes Guilt (Steven ‘Doc’ List) […]

  2. Certainly true. There is a lot of this is the public sector amongst key workers such as nurses and teachers where the guilt is a lot, lot higher.

    Importantly it stops people from making good decisions because it labels everything as Important/Urgent and scope cannot be managed anymore (as everything MUST get done).

    Also, let’s not forget what this really is: emotional blackmail.

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