by John Hall
It’s usually easier to come up with an excuse than it is to actually get something done. I’ve learned that many employees have the potential to be great, but they let excuses get in the way of their true potential. As a leader, it’s important to address these excuses and challenge your employees to be better. Here are some excuses that send my “BS meter” off the charts.
You didn’t give me enough direction
This is a common excuse for people that are used to checking the answer in the back of the book. The best employees take initiative and require the least amount of direction. The best leaders don’t hold employees’ hands, and the best employees tend to execute well and ask for direction only when it’s necessary.
It’s another team member’s fault
In school, you didn’t fail to turn in a project just because you had a lazy group member. You picked up the slack. Do what you can to encourage that person to get the work done, and if that’s not possible (there are some really lazy people out there), do it yourself. Bottom line: The best employees simply get the job done.
It’s not possible
Very rarely do I come across something that isn’t possible. It just takes some critical or outside-the-box thinking. Great employees don’t give this excuse because they don’t give up when they hit a barrier. Sometimes the difference between “impossible” and “possible” is just an email, phone call, or Google search away.
It’s a common mistake
Some employees think mistakes like typos, grammatical and logistical errors, and email errors are okay because they’re so common. The best employees aren’t “common,” so don’t make “common” mistakes. It pays to double-check your work and make sure it rarely needs correcting. It will put you a step above the rest in a world full of people who are bad at spelling, forming complete sentences, and responding to emails coherently.
I need your resources
Often, employees rely on their leaders’ resources and network to complete tasks. A standout employee builds off her leader’s connections and establishes her own network. One of the most refreshing feelings for a leader is to see an employee form additional relationships that can help the company. It’s really a feather in the cap to know the employee you trained is successfully branching out and building valuable connections autonomously.
The client is unreasonable
There is no shortage of difficult people out there, so get used to dealing with them. An unreasonable client or partner shouldn’t mean you can’t accomplish your goals. Valuable employees find ways to deal with unreasonable people simply by forming a better relationship or providing value for the client to ease the unreasonableness. That said, sometimes people who are difficult to work with just need a swift kick in the pants (metaphorically speaking) to bring them back to earth.
I need more training
When an employee isn’t trained properly, it can result in disaster. All leaders should make an effort to effectively train their employees and have programs that ensure this. Unfortunately, training isn’t 100 percent perfect and some employees won’t be trained properly. Employees also have an obligation to learn on their own and actively try to make themselves better. If an employee isn’t properly trained, the standout employees will fill in the gaps themselves and reap the rewards associated with being awesome.
Once you hear these common excuses, it’s important to identify them and address them. Challenging and supporting an employee is one of the best ways to decrease room for these excuses and allow your employees to become great assets for your company. So, even if you don’t have a good “BS meter,” you’ll be able to tell when your employees could be growing instead of consistently falling back when things get tough.
John Hall is the CEO of Digital Talent Agents, an agency that specializes in helping companies, entrepreneurs and business leaders build their brands by getting quality content published from them in reputable online publications that reach their target markets. Connect with him on Twitter or Google+.