How to Protect Yourself From Blame at Work

You might go to work each day determined to do your best. But despite minding your business and giving your employer 100%, some of your coworkers may blame you when things don't go according to plan. 

No one is perfect and we all make mistakes at times. This, however, doesn't suggest becoming the fall guy when issues arise in the workplace -- especially if you're not to blame. Therefore, here are five ways to protect yourself from blame at work. 

#1 Keep a copy of your job description in your desk

You're undoubtedly aware of your duties and responsibilities, but your coworkers may not completely understand your job description. This is common if you occasionally fill-in or help in other departments. And if your coworkers think that you're responsible for certain tasks, they may point the finger at you when these assignments aren't completed. To avoid any misunderstandings, keep a copy of your job description and politely remind people of your duties. This way, they can't blame you for "not" doing your job. 

#2 Save work emails and text messages

If you correspond with your boss or coworkers via text message or email, save these documents in a folder. Having a paper trail is helpful when you're wrongly accused. For example, your boss might send an email asking you not to complete a particular task; and later on, blame you for not handling this very issue. With a paper trail, you can refer back to his words and clear your name. 

#3 Ask questions for clarification

Always ask questions if you don't fully understand instructions for an assignment. Never make assumptions. It's difficult to complete tasks to your employer's satisfaction if you don't know what's expected of you. As a result, you might turn in incomplete or erroneous work, thus setting yourself up for blame. 

#4 Adhere to deadlines

For an office to run efficiently, everyone has to pull their own weight. Therefore, if you're unable to complete assignments by due dates, this can delay an entire project, and your coworkers and boss might blame you for the delay. Therefore, only agree to deadlines that you can meet, and ask for help if you're behind on projects. 

#5 Own up to your mistakes

If you acknowledge and apologize for the mistakes you make, it'll be easier to defend yourself when wrongly accused. To put it plainly, if you have a history of acknowledging your mistakes, your coworkers and boss will readily believe you when you state that an issue isn't your fault. On the other hand, if you never take responsibility for your actions, or if you always blame others for your mistakes, your coworkers and boss aren't going to believe your excuses -- even when it's a legitimate excuse.

Bottom Line

The workplace is competitive and fast-paced; and with everyone striving to move up the ladder, it's much easier for colleagues to blame others instead of accepting responsibility for their role in an issue. However, if you recognize this behavior, you can successfully protect yourself from blame. 

It's your turn. How do you protect yourself from blame at work?

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