Finger Pointing | 10 Best Tips for Eliminating blame Culture

Finger Pointing is defined as casting or assigning the blame for something to someone else. Like telling your mom “My sister broke the vase!” whilst it was you who did it.

Well, when I was a little kid, I remember my mother constantly telling me, “don’t point at people, it’s rude.” Of course, the circumstances were a little different then.

And sincerely speaking, I have to say, I’ve never than before experienced so much finger-pointing. Especially, as I have since I’ve been a part of the corporate world.

Finger Pointing

By all means, the most effective leadership style a leader adopts whether consciously or unconsciously will in part determine the success or otherwise of the team or group.  The style adopted will also influence how collegiate the group forms and grows.

In reality, depending on a number of factors, it’s about the behavior and practices of the leader which enables them to lead in a given situation.  The key here is how good or bad leadership applies essential qualities and skills in any given situation. In order to get the desired results.

What is the Meaning of Finger Pointing?

There is an old adage that says “When you point the finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” Perhaps we should all consider that before we decide to run our mouths, put an insensitive post on social media, or fire off the angry email or letter to a colleague or supervisor.

Spending too much of our time and resources finger-pointing and placing blame, instead of focusing on solving problems, usually results in “kicking the can down the road.” And negative energy that creates emotional overreactions. Our critical thinking skills suddenly take a back seat to our emotions and egos.

Surprisingly, the next thing we know, we are avoiding colleagues and friends, or embroiled in a nasty argument that could have been avoided. In a nutshell, Finger Pointing doesn’t produce any value-added results.

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Heaven and Earth know I have sabotaged myself over the years, both personally and professionally, by, of course, by finger-pointing others and reacting without thinking. I would jokingly rationalize it by saying, “Well, that’s the emotional Kenyan in me.” That is, in part, true, as I am an AAA personality and card-carrying member of the “Kenyans On Twitter (KOT).”

However, it does not excuse me from allowing my emotions to get the best of me. Take a moment to reflect on your own memories of when you decided to give someone the silent treatment or pass the buck, and chose to point the finger.

Related: 10 Rules For Brainstorming Without Alienating Introverts 

In other words, it doesn’t matter if you are an extrovert who loves to comment on just about everything. Or rather, an introvert who keeps it all bottled up inside of you. Until it builds up and becomes one out-of-character eruption of negativity. These emotional rants rarely help your cause or solve a problem.

Likewise, if you suddenly decide to give someone the professional brush off and ignore them intentionally then you are also a part of the problem and not the solution.

Where do I get started?

Oh, yes, I understand that there are times when we choose to ream someone out in front of the group to “send a message” for dramatic purposes, as that was the way many of us thought was the right way to coach, lead, or manage. I do believe that authentic emotions, even displays of anger or frustration, are not only avoidable at times.

Finger Pointing

But, they may even be effective in the right context on some rare occasions. Of course, just like giving your team at work or your athletic teams too many rote pump-up speeches.

Flying off the handle with rage and ripping into someone on a regular basis will likely not end well. Resulting in people tuning you out and seeking to avoid you at all costs. I speak from experience and found out the hard way. That it must be dealt with in an intentional and deliberate way.

In my case, I sought out professional assistance for my anger issues. And have embraced the “one day at a time” strategy for improvement. While I will likely never be “cured,” it has certainly altered how I look at things. It makes me think more critically before reverting back to my old “Mount Vesuvius eruptions at any moment” days.

How do you stop Finger Pointing?

Unfortunately, when people’s jobs, reputations, bonus checks, or pride could be in jeopardy, finger-pointing is handy. And passing the blame becomes the first step of self-preservation for employees.

Eventually, the problem with that is a culture full of endless finger-pointing and blame causes a lot of problems. Before you know it, your team, department, or even organizational culture becomes toxic because nobody feels safe—and there’s no trust.

As an example, I suggest, instead of ignoring negative behavior, address it appropriately—in private, with frank, but understanding conversation. If negative behavior doesn’t change, appropriate consequences should follow.

In addition to that, proper recognition (like a public thank you email, props in a team meeting, etc.) is given to team members. Particularly, who perform and behave positively. In the end, it helps to improve morale and trust in your project team.

10 Best Tips for Eliminating your Team blame Culture

So, what do you do when your project team becomes plagued with pointed fingers? Projects are so risky by nature that setbacks and failures happen more often than not.

And when stakeholders want answers, often, it’s hard not to find someone to blame. Chris Robinson, author of the Projects Guru blog gives 10 great tips for eliminating blame culture on your project team;

The 10 topmost tips include;

  1. Adopt a leadership position by ignoring the accepted blame culture & practicing a solution-based mindset.
  2. Instead of asking who did what & why to identify the steps required to move from the current position to the desired one.
  3. Look to the future, not the past, develop a vision of where you want the organization to be.
  4. Ignore the jibes of others who try to lay the blame. By focusing on the steps required to achieve the desired outcome.
  5. Lead by example – people will begin to notice & copy positive behavior.
  6. Reward positive behavior with encouragement.
  7. Deal with negative behavior by ignoring it.
  8. Promote positive people within the organization at the expense of those who cannot change.
  9. Forgive those who exhibit redemption.
  10. Celebrate success & generate genuine teamwork.


In my experience, blame culture exists in many organizations. Often, where there is low visibility at every level—executives, managers, and even team members.

For instance, without visibility, accountability suffers and finger-pointing becomes the norm when issues arise. Simply, because there’s no way to see the real facts and data.

In my opinion, the best way to eliminate blame culture, in the long run, is to implement and adopt a single system of truth. Where workloads, collaboration in the context of work, resources, and projects are all visible to everyone involved.


I hope the above-revised guide on Finger Pointing Culture Stop was an inspiration to you and your team. But if you’d like to learn more, feel free to have a look at the jmexclusives inspirational motivations page.

By the same token, if you’ll prefer a personal touch for additional suggestions, contributions or questions, please Contact Us. Or evenly possible, feel free to share more of your recommendations and further references in the comments box below this blog page.

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