Excuse or Reason?
Excuse: I’ve been busy so haven’t got around to posting another blog.
Reason: I’ve been distracted lately and haven’t given this blog the time it needs.
A somewhat benevolent Chairman once pulled me up for giving an excuse. It was a lesson well learned and a cue I since have used often for self-improvement and to tune into the conversations I have and assess the credibility of those I’m engaged with.
Anyone who talks with genuine reasons is well ahead in the credibility stakes. Just pouring out excuses is an easy habit to slip into but an unattractive trait to wear:
|Sorry I’m late the traffic was unbelievable!!!||Sorry, I failed to allow for the traffic (which I know about) and left later than I should have.|
|Sorry I didn’t do “x” I’ve been so busy lately.||Sorry, my bad, I didn’t give “x” the priority I implied I would and I overlooked it. I will have it to you by 4pm today.|
|Sorry I meant to call but forgot.||Sorry, I should have called you. (No reason, but an admission of fault)|
|I forgot to do my homework, I was busy with other things.||Sorry, I wasted too much time on my tech and didn’t do my homework.|
|I know I said I wouldn’t do it again, next time will be better.||I let you down, and I let myself down, I’m sorry.|
|I didn’t mean it.||Sorry, I should not have pushed my sister.|
|I didn’t mean it.||That was unkind and unthinking of me. I apologise.|
It’s likely some of these will resonate, we all have our guilty moments.
The strength is in acknowledging ‘guilt’ or fault and not falling into the 5-year-olds plea of “It wasn’t me”.
If you can add a commitment to a genuine reason then the value of the apology goes up significantly:
- I will have the work to you by 4pm…
- I will call them straight away (and you do)…
- I’ll work late tonight and have that on your desk in the morning (and you do)…
- I promise not to use any tech until my homework is completed.
But mostly, next time you are addressing an incomplete task or action, contemplate whether your response is the real reason or the excuse of a 5-year-old.
True leaders will only give reasons.