Picture this: your boss stops by your table. Seemingly, it is nothing. Yet, soon enough, he’s pointing out something that recently went wrong and is putting the blame on you. Though you are nodding along and pretending to take in everything he says, there is only one thing you want to say: “It’s not my fault!”
Maybe there was a legitimate reason why you did things that way, but that is not my focus today. What I do wish to discuss, is when your colleague is the one who made the mistake, yet, you are then one getting the blame. This is a very delicate scenario to navigate. While you wish to clear your name, you also don’t want to throw your co-workers under the bus.
I’ve been there before myself multiple times. When I just started at my current workplace, for example, I got in a bit of a mix-up; My boss blamed me for someone else’s mistake. Because I was new and because I wish to avoid conflicts, I was ready to take on the blame. Luckily, before I did that, the person who was actually at fault, took responsibility.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been through this on more than one occasion. So, to not be put in a situation as such again, I searched for a suitable solution. Here is what I found. According to Fastcomapny.com, when being blamed for someone else’s mistake, you should say: “I think there was some confusion about this, can we talk about it in a team meeting?”
By saying the phrase above, you are showing this wasn’t a solo mistake, but rather something that applies to everyone. Also, in a team meeting, there is a greater chance that the person who is responsible will step up and take accountability. But, even if not, at least that way you will rest assured that the correction will be passed on to the guilty party.
Being blamed for someone else’s mistake is frustrating. While you don’t want to spoil your good name, you also don’t want to seem like a tattletale who’s passing on the guilt. If the situation is minor, sometimes it’s better to just say “I’m sorry” or “It won’t happen again.” However, in times when you do have to explain, using the above phrase can help you maintain your reputation, without sounding whiny.