I've been in a situation like this a handful of times. I'll provide an example:
In a competative online gaming group, one other person and I were responsible for a particular task (role). Because of reasons outside the scope of the question, my usual partner to do this tactic wasn't there and I had to do this with someone who had never done this before: Bob. Bob made a critical mistake, but he did not realise he made a mistake. I did, and I knew only Alice had the ability to fix it. The mistake being critical, it meant we would lose within seconds if it didn't get fixed. I nicely but firmly asked Alice, having no more than seconds to explain. Alice refused to, because it was not part of her role. A few moments later, we lost the battle.
Alice went all-out on me. In particular, she complained about how I shifted my responsibility onto someone else and questioned my ability to do my role. She even questioned my ability to play this game on a competitive level.
The group leader responded to her accusations and asked me to defend myself (publicly, so GL, Alice, Bob and the rest of the group were part of this).
At that point I saw two possibilities:
- Say Bob caused the mistake, not me. I felt uncomfortable doing this. I didn't want to publicly humiliate him.
I went with option 2 and apologised for what happened. It being late and at the end of our scheduled game time, I logged off and went to bed after this (uncomfortable) conversation. I went to work the next day and when I got back, I found I had been removed from the group because I had supposedly failed at a critical task in my role.
I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. How could I have handled this?
This being an online group, everyone was from different locations. Most people were from East-Central and Northern Europe, Britain and Netherlands.
Clarification: We normally discussed how the night went using forum posts. Most people responded the day after. I intended to leave talking about the actual strategy to the next day, when I could think more about my words.
This group was pretty toxic. Being removed was very much a bullet dodged, but that's not the point of the question. I managed to explain what happened to the leader, but he couldn't invite me back or he'd "lose face". I'd like to learn from this particular social situation.