The Benefits of Being a Victim

Sometimes in my Improving Relationships and Results Through ACCOUNTABILITY workshops we discuss differences between people who take responsibility and those who choose to be victims. When I ask people, “What are the benefits of being a victim?” attendees may look quizzical at first, but then come up with some interesting answers:

  • The victim gets attention. “Look what happened to me this time.”
  • They get to vent.
  • They don’t have to go out of their comfort zone to talk to someone in a conflict situation, or hold someone else accountable, so it might feel more safe.

But what about COSTS if people play the victim in the workplace?

  • Victims are often acting on assumptions (since they don’t check things out).
  • They are more likely doomed to repeat the same mistake.
  • The problem is not solved.
  • They may be seen as complainers, hurting people’s perception of them.

So what answers do I get from workshop attendees when I ask, “What about when you use the Accountable Skills we learn in the class. What are the benefits to being Accountable?”

  • You have less stress. (People remember, for example, when they admitted an error rather than defending themselves. Once they admitted their part in the problem, stress diminished and they immediately felt lighter.)
  • You have a sense of well-being. You did what you’re supposed to do.
  • You learn for next time, and are less likely to make the same mistake again.
  • You get better outcomes.
  • You’re a more valuable employee.
  • If you’re a manager you are a role model and accountability filters down.

But wait!   Are there COSTS to being Accountable? Two examples that have come up in class:

  • To not just put their head in the sand, but to have to talk to people about an issue or admit their part in things can take people out of their comfort zone.
  • Sometimes we ignore the benefits we will receive because of PERCEIVED costs. (Example: You may think, if I talk to this person about what they didn’t get me on time, they will be mad at me. So then we need to ask, do I know this is true? And can I accomplish both? Can I talk to the person, resolve the issue AND not have them get angry? Yes, when you use the accountable conversation skills taught in the workshop.)

So there are some “benefits” to being a victim, but there are also serious costs. On the other hand, being accountable gets you better results, peace of mind, and better image and success in the workplace.   

To learn more about an Improving Relationships and Results Through ACCOUNTABILITY workshop, click here.