Blame is the number one toxic behavior inside of organizations – at least according to a 2018 research study completed by People Acuity’s psychometrics team. Over 1,800 employees and leaders across the globe participated, and surprisingly 50% of them scored their organization with the highest possible blame score.  Conversely, only 17% scored their organization as low-blame.  When blame is high there are some telling patterns that you may (or may not) be aware of, including three sure-fire signs that will leave you running for the nearest exit sign, hoping for a better job, if they are present.

The first thing that won’t surprise you is that you can kiss your Work Joy goodbye if you’re in a high-blame environment.  In fact, if blame-gamers surround you, you can expect less than a 4% chance of experiencing high Work Joy. This means you won’t feel ignited by your work and will likely dread it most days.  It also translates to high stress, low employee engagement, and a strong likelihood that you feel disempowered and unfulfilled.

As if that is not enough, the pain of low Work Joy is compounded by the absence of any real authentic relationships at work.  When blame is high the chances that you will have strong feelings of belonging and a feeling of connection to your team are less than 3%. You’ll feel alone.  Your work experience will be characterized by emptiness, frustration, and often sadness – and your team performance will be severely compromised.  Given that 75% of all organizational work happens in teams, and the fact that you were born to belong and connect, this one factor might hurt most of all.

The final sure-fire sign that you live and work in a blame-gaming environment is the nearly-complete absence of proactivity.  Just imagine what happens when every single day is filled with fire-fighting reactivity.  You get caught up dealing with one crisis, only to have another creep in even before you’ve solved the first one.  You realize that if you are in a blame-gaming system that the chances you would have high proactivity are only 5%?  Stephen Covey would be quick to tell you that if you’re not proactive you have no hope of being effective, given that the choice to Be Proactive is the foundational habit of all effective people.

While these signs are as sure as the sunrise, you can’t blame the blame-gamers.  That only puts you right smack in the middle of the Blamers Anonymous Club, and it reduces your power to change the very things you want to change.  Check out our brief video today about blame (found here) – and consider what you can do to take yourself out of the very behaviors that rob you of Work Joy, authentic Team Connection, and the Proactivity you need to become the creator of your life – rather than just surviving it.

Your mother may have told you to not be a quitter, but this is one time when quitting is just the right thing to do. 

Written by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, who lead the People Acuity Thought Leader team and are the authors of the book Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living.  They are also the creators of a validated measurement tool evaluating Work Joy, Team Connection, Confident Vulnerability™ and Proactivity. Between them they have worked in nearly 60% of the Fortune 500 and Global1000 firms and collectively hold over one hundred certifications and international and national recognitions.  To book one of them as a speaker at your next event, contact