If you find yourself blaming someone for some unwelcome outcome or a broken relationship, you might want to consider that nothing is ever 100% anybody’s fault.
Accepting this requires an ability to expand your perspective on any situation.
For example, in criminal justice it may be relatively easy to prove who robbed the convenience store because it was captured on video, and the fingerprints of the accused teenager were found on the cash register.
Expand your perspective
However, if you expand your perspective to beyond just the 15 minutes of the robbery you might consider the gang members that forced the teen to commit the crime as part of an initiation process, you might consider a delinquent father, an addicted mother etc.
You could do the same with something gone wrong at work.
It takes more than one person to cause a failure
A manager or employee may be the one who made the wrong purchasing decision, crashed the system, angered a customer etc. but if you expanded your perspective you might also consider contributing factors like this person being hired despite being unqualified, he may have been improperly trained, he may have been improperly briefed, he may have been given an impossible assignment, the customer could have contributed to the situation, he may have a dying daughter and is working two jobs because his insurance coverage was denied etc., etc.
… and a success
This works as well for successes by the way.
As the Academy Award speeches attest, no victory is ever exclusively due to one person. Attributing a sole and final cause for anything in our earthly plane is foolish.
Be willing to acknowledge your contribution to a breakdown
So if you find yourself blaming someone, try stepping back and considering the bigger picture. What other actions and circumstances contributed to the breakdown?
More importantly, what did you contribute to the breakdown?
Magic happens when you do
The very interesting thing about acknowledging where you contributed to a breakdown – once done without the intention to manipulate – is that it often causes others to do the same.
The authentic absence of blame has the effect of focussing all concerned on addressing the breakdown, and not on the denying, avoiding, redirecting etc. that occurs when people feel they are being blamed for a mistake, and blamed 100%.