How to overcome your team’s excuses

As a leader, you are bound to experience team members making excuses about why they can’t, won’t or didn’t do something they were asked or expected to do.

While excuses every so often can be understandable – expected even, when they are regularly given you need to act. Here are four ways you can overcome excuses and get you team doing what they are meant to.

Stop saying “that’s ok.”

“That’s ok” is an automatic response for many of us when someone apologises or gives an excuse, but in many cases, it is not ok at all.

You enable your team to give more excuses when you use this phrase – it is alright to do after all. Think about how you can change your language. I often ask what got in the way and how can you prevent that for next time.

Reset goals

As soon as people miss deadlines or don’t meet goals, I know something internal is going on for them. Take the time to do a coaching session with them, find out what’s going on for them, how you can help and what they need to do to get the job done – get them focused again and unblock whatever is in their path.

Look at the bigger issue

A good leader will always look at what they too can do to prevent excuses in the future. Ask yourself:

  • Is it a valid excuse or is it masking a bigger issue?
  • Are they unhappy or disengaged?
  • Is the task above their abilities or their belief in their abilities?
  • Do they need additional training or resources to help them complete the job or have greater confidence?
  • Do they understand the job and what is expected of them?
  • How can I set clearer expectations for next time?

Helping and supporting your people meet and achieve deadlines is a part of leadership, step up and be the leader your team need and want.

Kylie Denton is a highly experienced Organisational and Leadership coach, with a background in financial services and psychology. Known for her ability to create sales and service frameworks that achieve consistent sales and build rapid trust with customers, and a proven track record of developing current and future leaders and financial planners, Kylie has helped businesses both large and small boost productivity, performance and profitability over the last 11 years. When Kylie shares tips, strategies and behavioural modification through her blog you can rest assured it is based on substance not conjecture.

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Kylie Denton

Kylie Denton

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