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What do you do when everyone is looking for someone to blame? 

By  Robbie MacCue

  • This question assumes you know what others think.

  • Is there a bigger conversation to be had around accountability & keeping your word?

  • Do people acknowledge when/if they mess up? (blame culture? Psychological safety) How does the organization react to errors? People blame others mostly because they are afraid of the consequences. Is a mistake a development opportunity or a disciplinary event?

Check out this article: “A Framework for Providing and Inspiring Leadership” 

Full Video Transcript

Welcome to today's EMS leadership, Q and a. And today's question is what do you do when everyone is looking for someone to blame? And I think number one, it kind of assumes that, you know what others are thinking, right? This may be an opportunity if you're thinking that's what others are thinking, or you're hearing grumblings of this. Maybe there's a conversation to be had it with your leadership team around being your word.

Right. What are people saying? Does it match up with what our people, what, what Results are getting produced? Yeah, I think, I think it's spot on because if the leadership team is not able to be open about when they break their word or it doesn't get acknowledged, like I said, I would do this by this time. And then,

you know, why you didn't do it, you know, an emergency came up or there, you know, you had other priorities, but it doesn't get communicated. It looks to the culture. Like, it's okay. If you say one thing and do another right. If it's okay for the leadership team and it must be okay for the rest of us.

And so there's kind of a blame culture that gets created in there. And also the other aspect of it is how does the organization or leadership react when someone messes up or doesn't keep their word? Is it psychologically safe in your culture? You know, does somebody get made fun of, or if somebody, I don't know, has a reason for why they didn't do something,

do they get, you know, teased or, you know, do they get acknowledged? Does it look like they're going to get in trouble for not keeping their word? And, and I, again, I think it's very easy to look at a situation and think that's, you know, the problem, but I think that this really speaks to a larger,

a larger concern. And what, you know, what is the culture? I think people blame others mostly because they're afraid of the consequences. You know, do you, does your culture look at a mistake as a development opportunity or is it, you know, a disciplinary event? Those are very different cultures and I think all mistakes aren't created equal. So if you have,

you know, you're noticing that people are more likely to blame, then take ownership. Then, then that's a great opportunity to train people in, in, in the possibility of responsibility. So, you know, we have an article called a framework for providing and inspiring leadership, and there's a, there'll be a link in the bottom there on the screen,

but it really speaks to the difference between responsibility and blame and also around this conversation about integrity and being your word. So I think it will be helpful for folks. Yeah. We'd love to hear people's comments too, About if you've experienced this plane culture and maybe what your organization has done to be proactive about it, or how to reverse that into more of a psychologically safe organization.

And if you have a question you'd like to submit, you can email it to us support@emsleadershipacademy.com. We'd love to hear your questions, and if you want to leave us a voicemail, that'd be great to (888) 330-8288. Thanks So much.

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Robbie MacCue


Robbie is the cofounder of the EMS Leadership Academy, host of the EMS Leadership Summit, and paramedic captain in Albany, NY where he serves in the Special Operations Division for ground rescue, flight, & tactical medicine. He performs international medical flights with North America's largest fixed wing Air Ambulance service. For more than 14 years, Robbie served as President of a non-profit EMS organization advocating for increased funding and raising the bar of excellence. In addition, Robbie is an American Heart Association advocate who is passionate about empowering others to save more lives. He has taught physicians, nurses, and other medical providers Advanced Cardiac Life Support at medical schools and hospitals throughout Manhattan. Robbie has undergraduate degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University and provides business consulting that combines his love of technology with healthcare.

Robbie MacCue

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