Extinguish Excuses and Emphasize Accountability

Linda Dulye's picture

Fire extinguisher

Today’s workplace requires employees and leaders that focus on results. In fact, workplaces of every era required a mindset of consistent delivery on goals, deadlines and commitments.

What’s different about today? Global demands. High customer expectations. Rapid change. In this environment, no team can – or should – tolerate staff members that aren’t consistently producing at a high level.

One challenge leaders often face is the employee that makes excuses for errors or low-quality work. 

The easiest way to handle these situations is to nip them in the bud.

Meet with the employee and explain that while you understand that mistakes happen, the expectation is that each person must take ownership of them.

Explain clearly that finger pointing and excuse making will not be tolerated. Next, emphasize the need for accountability and ownership of processes. When people understand they own their work, they begin to take it more seriously and see it as a reflection of themselves in the organization.

For many employees, this level-setting discussion can be enough to trigger improved performance. If it’s not, they might soon find themselves in a much different conversation – one that has them looking for a new employer.


For more insights on 2-way communications, read the latest issue of our newsletter, Spectator-Free Workplace.


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