3 Simple Steps that Resolve the Lies in Excuses

Excuse-makers are blamers. They might not point a finger in your face, but their failure will eventually be your fault.

Successful leaders identify and counteract excuse-makers.


Partial truths:

All ‘good’ excuses are partially true.

Unskilled leaders believe the truth and ignore the lie in an excuse.

The excuse, “I wasn’t sure what you wanted so I didn’t move forward,” is a finger in your face. You are to blame for their poor performance. You weren’t clear. This excuse may be partially true.

More work for you:

Successful excuse-makers cover their failures by giving work to others.

If you buy into the truth that you should have been clearer, you’ll double your efforts to communicate effectively. The problem occurs when you ignore the lie in the excuse. 

They didn’t seek clarity. That requires responsibility and work from them. Something most disagreeable to excuse-makers.

Leading excuse-makers:

There’s little hope for habitual excuse-makers. It might be best to remove or marginalize them. It’s definitely easier. However, a commitment to serve the best interest of others suggests you should try.

#1. Repeat what you were told. I hear you saying that you fell short because you weren’t sure what I wanted. It seems like I’m the reason for your failure. What might I do to be clearer next time?

#2. Confront excuses. I need you to seek clarity. What are some ways you can seek clarity the next time you feel unclear?

  1. Listen carefully to an excuse-maker’s solutions.
  2. Beware of deflection. Reject more assignments for yourself.
  3. Design behavior-based solutions.

#3. Expect excuse-makers to work as hard as you. Half of the equation is improving your communication skills. The other half of the equation is them taking responsibility.  

How might leaders deal with excuse-making?