5 Excuses Business Leaders Need to Stop Using

by Elizabeth Dukes on September 14, 2016

You’ve probably heard the old adage about excuses: they’re like armpits—everyone has them, and they all stink. From a young age, we learn to dish out excuses when we forget to do something or simply don’t want to do it in the first place. As we grow up, these excuses become more ingrained. Sometimes we don’t even recognize them as excuses anymore. And that’s when it gets dangerous.5 Excuses Business Leaders Need to Stop Using

As business leaders, excuses can threaten your credibility and diminish your success. They can erode trust, hurt employee engagement and cause irreparable damage to your reputation. In other words, it’s a habit you need to break now.

Here are five of the most common.

Business Leader“I’m Too Busy”

When someone asks you how you’re doing, what’s your response? For most of us, it’s “super busy!” Recently, busyness has become a badge of honor—a way to brandish your importance to the world. And, more often than not, a way to justify not doing something you don’t want to do.

The next time you feel like using this excuse, take time to consider the truth: Are you really too busy, or would you just rather do something else? If it’s the latter, and you can’t bring yourself to be honest with the person asking for your time, you’re not as busy as you thought.

“That’s Not My Job”

As leaders, we’ve spent our fair share of time in the trenches. We stayed late, worked hard and climbed our way up the ladder. We made ourselves successful. And after all the struggles and challenges, it’s easy to feel you’ve paid your dues and certain tasks are now below your pay grade. But here’s something the world’s top business leaders will tell you: Nothing is beneath you.

To earn respect and buy-in from your team, you must be willing to jump back into the trenches from time to time and alleviate team stress. Whether it’s handling a few menial tasks while your assistant is on vacation or taking a few calls of your sales team’s plate, these duties will keep you humble and help you connect with your people.

“I Have Too Much On My Plate”

We’re all guilty of ignoring emails, skipping out on networking events and declining meeting invitations because, well, there’s just not enough hours in the day to do it all. But there’s this: Some things are worth the sacrifice.

Whether it’s taking off half an hour early to attend a yoga class, spending a few extra minutes chatting with your employees around the watercooler or delegating a project or two to clear space for an online course, even if you don’t “have” the time, you need to “make” the time. Invest your hours more wisely.

“We Can’t Afford It”

How many times have you vetoed an idea because you didn’t believe it was worth fitting into your budget? As a business leader—especially one who holds the power of the purse—you can often feel like the dream crusher. Unless you have the budget of Google, you can’t give every fresh idea the green light.

But while you need to protect the bottom line, there are certain things you can’t afford not to do. For example, you can’t afford not to focus on company culture, you can’t afford not to invest in a reliable IWMS and you can’t afford not to offer a comfortable and modern office environment that breeds productivity and collaboration.

Executives Meeting“No One Can Do This As Well As I Can”

One of the biggest challenges for leaders (especially new ones) is delegating to your team members. While you may have no qualms assigning simpler, monotonous tasks, you take on all the more challenging, complex projects alone. Not only will this result in burnout, but it also prevents more junior professionals from having the opportunity to learn and grow. The more you trust your team, the more adept they will become, the more skills they’ll acquire and the better you’ll be able to lean on them.

If you’re realizing you use most of these excuses regularly, don’t beat yourself up: You’re not alone. But by making yourself aware of these excuses, you can work toward breaking the habit and becoming a more honest and authentic leader.

Looking for more tips to improve your leadership abilities and help foster growth? Check out our free guide, 4 Ways Innovative Leaders Stay Ahead of the Technology Curve.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5