In the workplace, there’s always at least one difficult person. It can be the woman who complains chronically or the man who is often sarcastic. However, of all the people that you will encounter, the most troublesome one is the individual who will never admit they’re wrong.
How do you handle a person who refuses to admit they are at fault? It can be a real problem when there is an office full of people who always have the blame shifted their way. This problematic colleague can ruin your workday, and they can cause relationship problems on the job.
Tips on Dealing with Those Who Won’t Accept Fault
The natural response to this conundrum would be to avoid this person, but that isn’t always possible. What if you work in a small department, and they are intertangled in your workday? What is the best way to deal with a toxic individual who will never admit fault? Here are some suggestions.
1. Don’t Judge
It’s easy to take a high position when you feel that someone is in the wrong. However, remember your parents telling you never to judge a book by their cover? The problem with being judgmental is that you may not know that whole story.
Before you jump to conclusions and start assuming the worst, you shouldn’t pass judgment on this person. After some investigation and proof, then you can consider your lofted position. However, there may be something underneath the surface that is causing this person to act this way.
They may not be out to get you or any other employee. Instead, they may be trying to protect themselves. The psychological aspects of these situations cannot be ignored.
2. Talk to Them Privately
If they are lying and it affects you, then it might be time to call this toxic individual out on their behaviors. Again, it’s easy to jump to conclusions, but you might find that the situation is different than you could have ever imagined.
Everyone has a chance to defend themselves, even in a court of law. At least talk to the person and let them know how their inability to accept fault is wearing on you. Don’t speak for others in this meeting. Only say the part about their behaviors that affects you.
3. Get to the Bottom of the Situation
You know that things are never as they seem. You need to call out specific instances and ask them to explain their actions. Let’s assume that they messed up on an order form for supplies, but they are fully aware they did it.
They might have only claimed ignorance because if they got one more write up, they would be fired. You may find that even though their actions are toxic, they had logical thinking. It’s still no reason to lie, but at least they weren’t being malicious and trying to get others in trouble. They were trying to cover their mistake.
4. Ask Someone They Trust to Talk to Them
If their actions affect the workplace, you may ask one of their friends to talk to them. Do they have anyone that they can trust? The person could be stuck in such a negative pattern of blaming others that they don’t even realize what they are doing.
Having someone in a trustworthy position talk to them could be what they need to set them on the right path.
5. File a Written Complaint
If you’ve done everything you can to live with the situation and can’t, then it’s time to use your chain of command. Most companies want you to put any issues in writing for them to investigate further.
A written complaint may cause disciplinary action. However, if they are doing things that are going to cause you to get into trouble, you need to speak up. This kind of toxic person will stop at nothing to keep the fault off them and put it on someone else.
6. Talk to Your Supervisor
Asking the advice of your supervisor is always a good idea. If you’re not comfortable putting things in a written complaint, you can talk to your superior without mentioning names. They can give you advice on how you should handle situations according to company standards.
7. Cultivate Compassion
One of the main reasons you should never jump to conclusions is because you don’t know that person’s past. What if they were an abused child who grew up in horrible conditions?
It’s common that someone who doesn’t want to admit fault has a damaged psyche and cannot accept blame. The formative years teach you patterns that can last with you for life. They may feel like that child who is going to get in trouble and be beaten or belittled.
Since you don’t know what’s going on in their mind, then it’s best to use compassion first before a gavel of judgment.
8. Step Aside
Sometimes, the best thing for you to do is to step aside. If you already have drama going on in your life and don’t need to borrow any trouble, let someone else handle it. If this person’s actions don’t directly affect you, then make the people that it does affect fight the battle.
9. Let it Go
Letting go is such a hard thing to do. If this person has been this way since they started at your company, then the chances are that you will not change them. Rather than focusing on this negative aspect of your job, just ignore it. If you notice these toxic behaviors, then others will see them too.
10. Offer Help
As we’ve already discussed, you don’t know what’s going on in this person’s mind. Rather than being the judge, why not offer a helping hand? It could be that they won’t accept fault because they are struggling on the job. If you offer to help them in the areas they are struggling in, it could be a win-win situation.
11. Stage an Intervention
Have you ever seen an intervention for someone who is messing with drugs or alcohol? There’s nothing that says you cannot stage an intervention with this coworker. Gather a few of the other coworkers together and sit down and talk to them.
It’s hard to deny allegations when there are several people there to back up the claims. Also, make the purpose of the meeting to help and not tear them down.
12. Write a Letter
Some people feel that it’s easier to put their thoughts into written form than to talk face-to-face. Also, a letter can allow you to say what you need to say and keep you calm.
You can take the chance to call them out on their actions, but you don’t even need to put your name at the bottom of it. If you want to remain anonymous, then you can simply sign if from a concerned coworker.
13. Ask to Transfer to a New Department
If you’re at the boiling point with this person and their inability to accept fault, you can ask to move departments. If you work for a large company, there may be an opportunity for you to move around.
You may find that you would like to move away from this toxic person and their lying ways. However, be careful because these kinds of people exist in all facets of the workplace.
14. Make Sure You’re Never Alone with This Person
When you’re with a toxic person, you must always have a witness close by. If they tend to blame others for their actions or faults, you want someone close to you to say what happened. When you know that a person tends to be toxic, you know you need to take steps to protect yourself.
15. Move On
Though it’s a drastic step, it may be time to leave the company. If there are no departments to move around to, the supervisors don’t listen to your complaints, or if the person is in a position of leadership, then it may be time to go.
You can’t fight a toxic work environment, and you don’t want it to all come crashing down on you. If the situation directly involves you and could cause you to get canned, then move on. You were looking for a job when you found that one, and there will be another job out there for you.
Final Thoughts on Dealing with Those Who Refuse to Admit Fault
In some respects, you probably feel like a child when you’re dealing with an adult that cannot admit when they’ve done something wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’ve caught them red-handed, these people will lie, manipulate, and blame you.
The fifteen tips listed above can help you learn to deal with these people. However, it would be best if you were careful about which ones to use as each situation is different. Even if you decide to jump ship, remember that whenever you go in life, there will always be those toxic individuals who are eager to shift the blame to you. Learning how to deal with them is a better approach.