Victim mentality is a behavior in which an individual blames everyone and everything for his failures creating a sympathetic picture of himself in his mind. As the name suggests, individuals with victim mentality think of themselves as 'victims', whom the whole society has conspired to exploit. For example, if the car of a person with a victim mentality breaks down, rather than thinking rationally and knowing what caused the glitch, the person will attribute it to his bad luck and will sulk to give himself solace. This kind of behavior is highly pessimistic and can hamper the morale of individuals in the workplace.
Psychologists are of the view that in this fiercely competitive world, we all tend to display victim mentality, rather sub-consciously. The underlying reason for this is that we as a society pay much attention to pride and respect, and sometimes these things act like a barrier between us and the outside world. Victim mentality can create doubt in our minds about our ability to succeed in life.
It can make us retreat into a cocoon, so that whenever something bad happens, we have someone to place the blame on. In an organization, where it is important that every individual understands his role and claims responsibility for it, victim mentality can be catastrophic. So, it is important that organizations encourage their employees to gain self-confidence and hold them accountable for their work.
Dealing with Victim Mentality at Work
In our personal life, we can choose not to interact with people who have a victim mentality, but in our professional life, we have to work together with our colleagues to achieve common goals. Individuals with victim mentality can pose a serious threat to the overall atmosphere of the workplace, which in turn can affect productivity. Let us take an example to illustrate this. Consider an organization which invested a lot of money in a new product which failed miserably.
The employees attribute it to their manager as they think that he failed to study the market and agreed to launch the product. The manager on the other hand blames the higher management for not giving him full authority in handling the affairs. The higher management blames the planning department as they couldn't accurately foresee that the product will not interest consumers. The planning department, in turn blames the finance department for not allotting enough funds to carry out the research. The blame-game goes on and on, without any possible end or solution to it.
As you can see from the above-mentioned example, what essentially is happening is that no one is ready to accept his mistake and everyone conveniently passes the buck to someone else. The right approach to this issue is that all the concerned parties should come forward and accept their mistakes. This will not only ensure that there are no blame games, but it will also help the organization to identify its mistakes, work on them and prepare for any such eventualities in a better way.
An employee with a victim mentality makes himself vulnerable to being bullied in the workplace. So, it is important for the good of both, the organization and your own personal self that you take corrective steps in this direction. First and foremost, you have to accept that there are situations where we unknowingly display victim mentality, and look for corrective measures against it. If you feel that your boss is not giving you due recognition, instead of being silent, you should have a discussion with him and make him aware that this is impacting you.
If you have colleagues who are highly critical of you, instead of being self-critical and feeling remorseful, you should have a word with them and put it across that you are not going to tolerate this kind of behavior. You may not have a control on how things shape up in office or in life, but what you can control is the way you react to challenges. Feeling victimized is definitely not going to help and instead of blaming the situation for all your troubles, one should try to strive towards developing a more positive approach towards life. Getting rid of a victim mentality is not an overnight thing and it will surely take time, but the important thing is that you put in your best effort.