A Cat's Guide to Deflecting Blame
05-27-2015 at 09:55 AM
Category: Leadership

I recently penned a blog about one of my cats who was having an issue regarding fear – specifically, fear about using the litter box for his daily solid waste product offerings. Cat number One, as we shall refer to him by, is the ultimate ‘fraidy cat. This animal is literally afraid of his own breath. My other feline, Cat number 2, is much more subdued – or devious – I haven’t quite decided. To give you a little foresight, we shall refer to her as “She-Devil.”

The issue was, that from time to time, a small pile of feline fecal gifts were left in places around my home which were not on the “approved locations” list for such matter. When I found such a “gift” I would gently pick up each cat and bring them over to the newly minted product. Being the calm, ever-understanding pet owner that I am, I asked each animal if they were the one who thought it appropriate to use the carpet for their bodily functions as opposed to the litter box. Naturally, I did not receive a verbal answer. What I was looking for was their reaction to the mess. When I brought She-Devil to the pile, she looked around as if it didn’t exist. Her behavior was calm and disinterested. Normal cat persona. When cat number One was brought to the scene, his ears folded back, he went completely limp in my hands, and in general, conveyed a demeanor of “oh crap, I have been discovered.”  This reaction fit his behavior and issue with fear, so I concluded it was him who was the culprit. But alas, all was not as it appeared…

One day, I heard a strange meowing coming from my office. At first I thought it was She-Devil calling out to cat number One to come and play. The meowing continued in a rather unusual way which caught my attention. I went to investigate. Apparently, this particular form of vocalization is odd to cats as well, as cat number One was tentatively peering into the office as if some great evil were about to consume him. When I rounded the corner, what to my wandering eyes did appear, but She-Devil facing me, squatting down, and giving gifts from her rear. Anger filled me as I felt the sting of betrayal and embarrassment at being bested by a lower life form. I quickly scooped the animal up from its waist, causing her to dangle upside down. Since she was in mid-expulsion, I literally squeezed the crap out of her as small projectiles shot across the room. I did my best to get her into the liter box before everything else came out.

There are some interesting life lessons here. One is, if you don’t want to take the blame for the crap around you, don’t look guilty. Unfortunately, people sometimes allow perception to be reality. This often causes a misunderstanding of any given situation. If, for example, you tend to have a scowl on your face and you don’t make eye contact with others when you speak to them, their perception of you will be that you are angry, unconfident, and aloof. This may not be what you intend to convey at all. However, knowing how your demeanor can alter another’s perception of you, allows you the opportunity to make the changes needed to send the message about yourself you do intend to send.

Another lesson is that there is often more to a situation than meets the eye. Even with the best information available to you, you still might make the wrong decision. Admit the mistake, make the proper adjustments, and move on.

Of course, you could make the observation that if you want to effectively blame someone else for your crap, simply feign disinterest and complete ignorance. Let someone else who isn’t adept on lesson number one take the heat. You could do that, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The truth will come out eventually. You will be exposed and the consequences will be worse. Ethical behavior still wins out over unethical behavior.

Which is your tendency: 
Send the wrong message because of fear and doubt?
Hide your mistakes and blame others (or just let others come to the wrong conclusion)?


Jeff Orr is a Personal Leadership Coach to Executives and Business Owners, Author, and Transformational Speaker. Through his coaching company, InDemand Leadership, Jeff empowers his clients to experience internal growth which then translates into sustainable external success. A dynamic and energizing speaker to corporations and groups, Jeff engages his audience through humor, real world stories, and a genuine care for the people he speaks to, helping them to build lasting success internally and externally. He is also author of the highly acclaimed book, Succeed In The New Normal.

Contact Jeff at: www.indemandleadership.com

Keywords: blame, leadership, responsibility, Jeff Orr, cats
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