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What you should know about making excuses at work

Source | http://dialoguereview.com : By  

There is simply no excuse for making excuses at work – or anyplace else for that matter.

When you’re late to an appointment and you hear yourself saying, “I’m sorry I’m late but the traffic was murder,” stop at the word “sorry.” Blaming traffic doesn’t excuse the fact that you kept people waiting. You should have started earlier. You certainly won’t have to apologize for: “I’m sorry I’m early, but I left too soon and the traffic was moving along just fine.”

If the world worked like that, there would be no excuses.
I like to divide excuses into two categories: blunt and subtle.
The blunt, “dog ate my homework” excuse sounds something like this: “I’m very sorry I missed our lunch date. My assistant had it marked down for the wrong day on my calendar.”
Translation: “You see, it’s not that I forgot the lunch date. It’s not that I don’t regard you as so important that lunch with you is the unchangeable, non-negotiable highlight of my day. It’s just that my assistant is inept. Blame my assistant, not me.”

The problem with this type of excuse is that we rarely get away with it — and it’s hardly an effective leadership strategy. After reviewing thousands of 360-degree feedback summaries, I have a feel for what qualities direct reports respect and don’t respect in their leaders. I have never seen feedback that said, “I think you are a great leader because I love the quality of your excuses,” or, “I thought you screwed up, but you really changed my mind after you made that excuse.”

The more subtle excuses appear when we attribute our failings to some genetic characteristic that’s apparently lodged in our brains. We talk about ourselves as if we have permanent genetic flaws that can never be altered.

You’ve surely heard these excuses. Maybe you’ve even used a few of them: “I’m impatient.” “I always put things off until the last minute.” “I’ve always had a quick temper.”

Read On….

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