It never fails. When a leader fails to meet a deadline, or lead his team or accomplish a task, they always have a great excuse. Each and every time I hear that excuse, it always sounds like a valid and understandable reason. Things like, “I had too many other things on my plate, or the numbers weren’t accurate, or IT couldn’t build the report that I needed,” are just some examples.
All of these are reasonable and plausible explanations. But what I have learned over the years is one simple truism: Great leaders don’t need excuses, they just find a way to get it done.
This is a valuable lesson for new leaders. Do not accept failure. Drive your teams to perform at a higher level. Demand your teams to keep looking for ways to get things done, rather than looking for reasons they can’t. When “Plan A” fails, forget about it, and quickly make a “Plan B.”
Which also leads to another lesson that is closely related – “it’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.” This does not mean that as a leader you shouldn’t communicate or run things past your leader, but within reason. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a new leader call me to ask if it’s OK for them to perform simple managerial functions. Why? If you ask enough people for permission, eventually you will find someone to say “no.” So the lesson is, don’t ask. Just remember to be prudent, not reckless.
Poor leaders have great excuses, such as “you never told me that I can do that,” but strong, effective leaders say “you never told me I couldn’t.”
Don’t be afraid of leading your teams, avoid excuses, and just find ways to get things done – that’s was great leaders do.
My name is Mark Behl. My passion is leadership. I share ideas, not lectures. If you would like to share an idea with me, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you come back for future posts.