Communication essentials: don't blame the new guy

My family has an inside joke. It would seem that any time something goes wrong, whether at a restaurant, store, any type of service – you get the picture – the new guy is to blame.

I mean, even my 12-year-old recognizes this, one time going as far as to blame her burned chicken tenders on them. “These suck. The new guy must be cooking tonight,” she said dryly. (Not sure where she gets that.)

No, the new guy isn’t a character my family dreamed up to bring levity to annoying situations. The new guy exists because every time something goes wrong that’s what we’re told. Pizza wasn’t made right? Oh, ‘the new guy’ is back there … we’ll get you a new one. Overcharged for something? ‘The new guy’ is on the register. Garbage isn’t picked up on time? “Ah, yes,” the dispatcher says…“I see now. ‘The new guy’ is on your route.”

The new guy. New person. New whoever. They are not responsible. They are a scapegoat created by the company or the manager to explain away the problem. Which brings me to today’s ‘communication essential’ – accountability.

I’m not sure if it’s experience talking but do you know who has been responsible for the mistakes I’ve made? Me. And although it’s hard to do sometimes, I own up to them as quickly as possible.

Maybe because it makes me feel better. Maybe it’s because I learned (the hard way) not to lie growing up. Maybe it’s because I was never smart enough to blame ‘the new guy.’

Whatever the reason, I’ve saved more face by just fessing up to my mistakes. I have yet to lose a client or friend by doing so. Plus it checks the ‘lead by example’ box. Because, you know … everyone makes mistakes.

Don’t blame ‘the new guy.’ Just own up to being ‘the guy’ and move on.