How To Protect Yourself From Blame At Work: 15 Practical Steps

Want to know how to protect yourself from blame at work? Then you’re in the right place.

Everyone makes mistakes at work. Unfortunately, sometimes some people take pleasure in blaming others for their mistakes. To avoid wrongful accusations, you should defend yourself as often as possible.

Start by writing down your conversations and business choices on paper. Then try to establish yourself as a helpful and trustworthy person. If you are accused of making a mistake, admit it if the fault lies with you. If not, schedule a meeting with your supervisor and explain the situation.

How To Protect Yourself From Blame At Work:

1. Use email to communicate.

In some cases, it can be difficult to determine what you said in person or over the phone. It is much easier to verify the content of an email because you can simply print it out. Whenever possible, communicate with everyone via email.

Send emails to co-workers and employers, as well as clients and other people.

If a face-to-face conversation is necessary, you can summarize it via email. Summarize the main points of the conversation.

It is best not to record people surreptitiously. Laws about surreptitiously recording people vary by state and country. In many regions, you cannot record a discussion unless all participants agree to it.

It is usually better to over-communicate than to under-communicate. Try to interact with co-workers in different ways.

2. Request item receipts.

Is there anything that needs to be hand delivered to another department? Did you send something to a customer in the mail? If so, signatures are needed to prove that the item was received. In the United States, you can send packages by return receipt if needed.

3. Ask your boss some questions.

If you are not sure what to do, ask someone higher up to make a decision. They are responsible if they make the wrong decision. Email your question and keep a copy of the answer.

You may be hesitant to ask questions because you want to give the impression that you know all the answers. Nevertheless, you must do something correctly or you will be held accountable.

It is important to remember not to ask the same question repeatedly. If your supervisor instructs you on how to do something, write it down so you don’t forget. If you keep asking questions, you will give the impression of incompetence.

4. Make customers aware of the risks associated with their choices.

If a customer’s choice fails, you may be held liable. Even though the customer made the choice, they will claim that you failed to warn them of the dangers. If you want people to make an informed choice, you should always clearly communicate the risks.

Also, ask the customer to sign a document acknowledging that they are aware of the risks. List the most important hazards on the form.

Keep the signed document in case the customer later claims that you did not warn him about the hazards.

5. Keep a positive attitude.

If you have a good reputation with your superiors and most of your coworkers, you can resist false accusations. To begin creating your reputation, start by maintaining a good attitude. You should greet everyone you meet with a smile and the words “good morning” or “hello.”

Handle touchy co-workers with caution. Try to see things from their perspective to relieve tension and maintain a pleasant attitude.

Get enough sleep so that you are rested when you arrive at work. People who are sleep deprived tend to be whiny.

Some workplaces are so toxic that it is impossible to be optimistic in them. In that case, you should seriously consider quitting your job and looking for another one.

SEE ALSO: How To Improve Your Job Performance: Top 17 Super Hacks 

6. On a case-by-case basis, offer assistance.

This depends on where you are employed. When you are overwhelmed, most people will appreciate extra help. However, don’t help too much because it will give the impression that you don’t have enough to do.

Pay attention to whether your teammate appreciates your credit for the task at hand. If he or she does not, you should decline his or her help.

If your teammate praises and thanks you, you may be able to help them in the future. They appreciate your help and do not see you as a threat.

7. Keep your promises.

Remember to do what you say you will do when you tell a colleague you will do something. Leave the excuses at home and make sure you complete your tasks. Delivering on your promises will increase your credibility in the eyes of others.

Try to be predictable and reliable. If something goes wrong, people will be less likely to blame you for it.

8. Admit that you made a mistake.

If you honestly accept your mistakes, you will contribute to your credibility. People who consistently reject accountability begin to appear to be liars. Instead of acknowledging your mistake, Say, “I’m sorry,” and then explain what happened:

You realize the seriousness of the mistake. For example, you might note: “I know that this error could result in the loss of a customer.”

Realize the circumstances. For example, “I was packing packages for the post office when Mary called and I got distracted.”

You make efforts to prevent this situation from happening again. “When I’m packing our goods for shipment, I let the calls go to voicemail, which ensures I don’t make that mistake again.”

9. Maintain an expert online presence.

If you have a social media account, ensure that it portrays you in the most favorable light. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated (1) and monitor content from social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Consider making your accounts private.

It’s also worth Googling your information. Look at the top of the first page of results. You want that first page to be a positive representation of you.

Negative content is difficult to remove from Google. However, putting some information in a newspaper or trade magazine can make it disappear from the front page. You can also volunteer and then write an article or give an interview to a local reporter.

10. Take a deep breath and calmly listen to the allegations.

No one likes to be held responsible for mistakes made at work. You may think your heart will jump into your throat when your supervisor calls you into his office. Try to relax as much as you can. Take a deep breath and sit comfortably.

You must maintain your composure while listening to the allegations. Make a list of what your supervisor thinks you did wrong. When you leave the workplace, you may not remember everything that was said, so take careful notes.

Remember not to let yourself be put on the defensive right away. Your employer may be too upset to listen to you. Unless you are in danger of being fired, you should be able to return to the office and collect your thoughts.

If you didn’t do anything, you can say, “I didn’t do it.” Your supervisor may not hear you, but you need to express yourself.

SEE ALSO: How To Delegate Tasks Effectively: 14 Delegation Tips

11. Examine your role in the situation.

The word “blame” is disturbing. It suggests that when something goes wrong, only one person is to blame. However, many other people may have contributed to the situation. Assess whether you are responsible in any way.

If so, consider what you could have done differently. When admitting you made a mistake (2), explain what went wrong and how to do things differently in the future.

Unless you have written evidence that another person made the mistake, don’t blame them.

12. Gather all the necessary documentation

Hopefully, you’ve kept all the emails, memos, or other evidence that supports your case. Now it’s time to track them down and make duplicates. Remember, you should never offer your boss the originals of anything.

Sort your documents into a logical order. If your supervisor ordered you to do something in an email and you are charged, put that email at the top.

Use a highlighter to draw attention to important details in emails and other documents. You can’t expect your employer to read fifty pages of content to figure out what’s important.

13. Interact with coworkers

If your colleagues believe you, they can be excellent witnesses. One reason you want to connect with colleagues is to avoid situations like this one: being blamed for something you didn’t do. Ask your colleagues if they can speak to your employer on your behalf.

You should not invite your colleagues to meet with your employer because if you are there, your boss may not believe that they are telling the truth. Instead, they can meet later or send an email summarizing what they know.

14. Maintain complete concentration on your task.

You must continue to do your job properly even as you begin to prepare your defense. Use your lunch breaks and after-work hours to prepare for your defense. If you make a serious mistake at work because your thoughts are elsewhere, you are not doing yourself a favor.

15. Make an appointment to meet with your boss.

Make an appointment to meet with your employer in a day or two. By now, everyone should have cooled down. You can start by gathering documentation and names of employees who have agreed to appear as witnesses.

Begin the meeting by outlining the allegations against you. Then go into your version of events.

You might explain that “yesterday I was too emotional to talk about it, but now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’d like to talk about what happened.”

Use documents to support your claims. 

Thank you for reading this article about how to protect yourself from blame at work and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here