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Author Topic: Polite ways to remove blame from myself  (Read 4140 times)

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Polite ways to remove blame from myself
« on: March 27, 2008, 11:35:04 AM »
What is a polite way to inform a person who is accusing me of substandard work that it is really *his* fault?  This isn't a huge issue, just a person I'm "helping" with some tasks.  He doesn't reply to emailed requests for information (that I need to complete the tasks), tells me to refer to nonexistent files to find information myself, and blurs the lines between what he is responsible for and what I'm responsible for so it looks like my fault when he drops the ball.

I have to go to a meeting in a few minutes and if accusations start flying, I want to be able to calmly defend myself while not being painfully obvious that I'm blaming him.


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Re: Polite ways to remove blame from myself
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 11:55:01 AM »
Can you interject (not interrupt!) with statements like, "Well, Jerry (or whoever), I *did* ask for that info in the email I sent you last week", and "I believe there's been a miscommunication; which is your area, and which is mine? I thought mine was X, and YOURS was Y" and "How can we make sure this sort of mixup doesn't occur in the future?" that sort of thing?

This kind of stuff is NO FUN. ((hug))

ETA: the info email remark made me think of Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer, when Linda says she doesn't love him anymore, "Once again, information that would have been QUITE USEFUL to me YESTERDAY!!"  ;D
« Last Edit: March 27, 2008, 11:57:03 AM by happy_baker »


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Re: Polite ways to remove blame from myself
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2008, 11:58:47 AM »

That, and take the emotion out and turn it into a math equation.

I was responsible for X, CW responsible for Y.

X+Y= :)

X-Y=  :(

"Upon reviewing the instructions that CW had e-mailed me (Exhibit A), I search through the files and discovered that the mentioned file is not there. When I asked CW he responded ... I was under the impression that I was responsible for X, but unfortunately it seems that there was a communication issue that prevented anyone from truly understanding who was responsible for what. When I brought the problem to CW..."


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Re: Polite ways to remove blame from myself
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 02:31:55 PM »
When dealing with accusations, stick to "I" statements:

"After I read your response to my email, I looked for the files you mentioned."
"It was my understanding that I was responsible for XYZ."
"I feel like there is a breakdown in communication here and I would like to help fix it."

...etc. etc. etc.

And document document document.  Keep every email, including the ones you send.  Print them if you have to, maybe make them part of the project folder.


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Re: Polite ways to remove blame from myself
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 02:34:11 PM »
Innocent, wide-eyed confusion. "I don't understand, Bob. I asked you for that information several times and you never provided it. You also never replied to my e-mails. What did you think I was going to be able to do?"
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways.