Leadership excuses just don’t work.

It wasn’t an interrogation although at the time it maybe felt like it. There was no light shining in my face. It was no lie detector test. It was just me on one side of the table and my leaders on the other. I felt a little flush, awkward, uncomfortable, the meeting was generating a healthy glow as my brow perspired.

A question came, ’So, how did it go?’
Answer, at a ridiculously fast pace, ’Great. It was great. Really good. Fantastic. All good.’
Reply, with a knowing lilt, ‘Really?’
Answer, more thoughtfully, ‘Well, it wasn’t my fault, I can explain, it shouldn’t have happened that way. The team didn’t handle it right. In actual fact, so-and-so messed up.’

It’s not my job
That was someone else
Yes, but I can explain
Didn’t know I had to
The team let me down
It wasn’t that bad really
I don’t have enough time
It wasn’t the right time
The effort wasn’t worth it
We are not ready
It wasn’t affordable

Excuses can come quickly and easily. For why things went wrong. For why we didn’t do something. I’ve probably used all of those listed above and more. Let’s be honest, we have all used them. We like to save face, to give reasons for non-action that sound reasonably plausible. Either way, when we get quizzed, it can be uncomfortable.

Excuses just demonstrate a lack of ownership, a lack of determination but they can also create a lack of progress too. Passing the blame is easier than taking responsibility. However, in doing so we lose credibility and eventually we will lose the right to lead others. Leaders can give away just about anything, except ultimate responsibility.

So, what have I learned on the journey when it comes to leadership and excuses. They don’t help me develop as a leader, except to learn that they don’t help me. After all, leadership is about getting things done and excuses are just reasons for why I haven’t got done what I said I would get done. Hope that makes sense.

What’s your favourite excuse?
How do you make sure to not allow excuses to stop you?

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