I’m not saying just play hard ball, nor do we slap hands when people come in with an excuse. It’s just that when there is an excuse we are looking at the wrong end of the problem.
When I work with top execs or managers and their teams to improve their ultimate HSSC Result, their results, I always ask everyone, “Name the characteristics of a good leader.” I’m looking for one main characteristic . . . that good leaders “get results” no matter what.
The important part of all of this is that a good leader knows when to use what tool, and how to approach his followers so that he always gets results, and, in fact, gets those results in the most efficient way.
Now, let’s talk about excuses. If a leader ALWAYS gets results then how do we deal with the fact that some of our followers have an excuse for why they didn’t deliver? In many instances, the excuse sounds reasonable and unavoidable. But is it? Or should we even be asking if it is reasonable? When someone gives us an excuse and it sounds reasonable what can we still say about that? Sometimes
What happens when we question the person as to whether it was avoidable, or actually reasonable? It likely means conflict and confronting them. It also puts their honesty in doubt doesn’t it? So, either we don’t challenge them, just accept it . . . Or it may take time to dig into the reality of the situation, to play detective to check out their story. That takes time out of our day when the reason we asked them to do whatever it was that we asked them to do was to take a load off of us and reduce our time commitment. Sort of counter productive.
Another choice that leaders, executives, managers, supervisors, frequently make is, instead of confronting the person, or taking the time to play detective, they believe that it’s much easier to just ACCEPT whatever B.S. they are told and not face the conflict. The end result is that excuses become a way of life. And, most leaders will tell you just that. But does it really matter whether the explanation is valid or not? Who really cares? What matters is that the RESULTS were NOT achieved when you needed it.
The consequences of not delivering exist whether there is an excuse or not. So, does it really matter whether the excuse seems valid or not? The ultimate outcome you wanted didn’t happen. And the ultimate outcome that did happen may have dire consequences . . . whether there is a valid excuse or not. So, getting results is all that really counts.