"I don't want excuses, I want results."
Well, no kidding.
Nobody wants excuses and everybody wants results.
The 'no excuses' trope is incredibly weak and demonstrates the epitome of bad management; no, it doesn't even start to address any kind of quality leadership.
I've posted about this before using a note I wrote to show my camera, "Mic Not Working, I'm Trying."
People who are reading this probably don't need to. Folks who desperately need this insight will almost certainly not seek out information on how to be a better leader. To that point, here's a way to reframe excuses and facts:
Excuse: once we dig down, it becomes clear that the reason for not meeting expectations could have been managed to become nearly a non-issue. An example is being unprepared for a presentation because a person popped in (in-person or on-screen) and took up your work time. A polite and firm conclusion to the conversation could have protected time to be spent on the presentation.
Reason: once we dig down, it becomes clear that this was a debilitating set-back or was an absolute priority. Two examples are when you are hit by a bus on your way to the presentation or when your significant other is hit by a bus. (BTW, if the second example is an excuse, not a reason, look at your employee satisfaction and turnover rates).
Focusing on the "no excuses" manager and giving them some grace; what are some reasons people engage in this behavior? Could be stress they're getting from above. Could be they've never seen another approach role-modeled. Could be they've been promoted to leadership when they were a good producer and they're simply out of their depth.
"No excuses, just results" is lazy. It's lazy in leadership, in training, and in engagement. And, it's curable. It is possible to be an actual whole human AND get great outcomes. Pre-mortems work wonders: we think we're ready, but assume it fails; what re the ways it fails? This shows support of the team and helps ease a leader's mind that if things go awry, we've got a backup.
What is one of your go-to methods of back-up (people, hardware, software, etc.)?
Cover Image represents Warner Brothers characters.