Business Management

How To Deal With The Five Dangerous Modes Leaders Assume In Business Management: Excuse Mode

Partner of ActionCOACH Spain, mentoring and business consulting expert. 

We’re nearing the end of my five-part series on “The Five Dangerous Modes Leaders Assume in Business Management.” Today, we will discuss the fourth mode: Excuse Mode.

When I introduced the series, I described Excuse Mode as “es que” or “is what” mode. In this mode, leaders often look for excuses and culprits outside their personal realm. For example, if the company is experiencing poor sales, they might say, “There is just such so much competition right now,” or “The market is to blame.” Perhaps they will deflect blame to their team, colleagues or the board. These excuses are a way of avoiding the reality of what’s really happening. It’s easier to redirect blame and forget the possible percentage of self-responsibility, however minimal it may be. 

The problem is, when blame is always placed on others, it hinders a leader’s personal and professional growth, as well as the company’s growth as a whole. It is necessary to regularly reflect and analyze our own behavior and role in events — and help our teams to do the same. It’s also a good idea to set up regular working groups to analyze the parts of self-responsibility everyone has for the lags and dysfunctions produced. The goal is to create a judgment-free zone where team members can honestly assess performance and get help when they need it. Aim to come out of each meeting with an action plan that allows the implementation of improvement processes. Remember: We can do little for the faults of others and yet much for our own mistakes.

Additional actions include:

• Clearly define the functions of each team and the associated key performance indicators. This way, each person knows what is expected of them and there is no excuse for not executing. 

• Have a comprehensive onboarding program. You want to introduce people to the company when they are adequately trained for the proper performance of their duties. The aim is to reduce, as much as possible, any knowledge gaps when they begin work.

• Build strong interdepartmental relations to avoid a breakdown in communication or any unnecessary friction. You can even hold a workshop focused on management, leadership and communication skills among teams.

• Develop a culture that rewards teams for decision-making and risk-taking. People need to be trained to make decisions and to know how to make decisions in the face of difficulties.

• Create working groups and hold regular meetings to analyze the development of the company. Always be thinking about internal improvement.

To avoid Excuse Mode, leaders need to clearly define what is expected of each person through a continuous process of training and foster a culture of proactivity and decision-making in the face of difficulties. And, they need to lead by example and avoid falling into Excuse Mode themselves. In taking the measures listed above, we can participate in a continuous process of reflection and adaptation. In turn, this will help us to face the continuous changes that are taking place, thus ensuring that our companies are more competitive, efficient and modern.


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