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Fed up with excuses from your employees? Change their mindsets and remove their limitations.

Fed up with excuses from your employees? Change their mindsets and remove their limitations.

It can be incredibly frustrating hearing excuse after excuse from your employees! We feel your pain.

This is the right time to get out the magnifying glass and look closely at your culture! Do you have a culture of accountability?

In my experience, most companies will have some employees and leaders that are extremely accountable, but others that are trapped inside their limitations and excuses.

At POD HR & Training, we help leaders build cultures of accountability because we know that people potential is limitless when unlocked in the right way.

As a Master Practitioner of NLP, I’ve had to take a good, hard look at myself and work on my own accountability. Once I stopped being a victim of circumstances and made the decision that nothing needs to stop me and nothing is a problem unless I make it one, I started to bring my team on that road with me. The more accountable you are, the more you can achieve.

In a world of zero excuses, the only focus you have is HOW you will get something done, rather than whether it can or can’t be done.

I actually did a Leadership Development Coaching session recently and the Director told me:

“I can’t get this employee to do what I need them to do”.

I could have given that employee all of the skills and techniques in the world to complete the work, but it wouldn’t have helped much. It’s his belief and mind-set that was holding him back.

Instead, I worked with him on his mind-set first. I let him see that it was just a limiting thought and an excuse he was using, rather than tackling the problem head on.

From then, he chose to live in a world of 100% accountability and increase his possibilities with his team, which gave them the freedom to actually complete the work.

The employee (who had been late almost every day for the last 5 years and always seemed down in the dumps), has been early every day since the discussion was had. In addition to that, I’ve received numerous comments on how positive he is, always smiling and laughing, and taking pride in his work.

It all starts with a change in mind-set. It took me about 20 minutes of NLP coaching to completely change that employees outlook and increase his work productivity and happiness!

Great things can happen with every member of your team, but in order to make it happen it requires you to leave aside judgements or conclusions and believe in finding the HOW.

This requires you to live in world of zero excuses. It may sound impossible but I promise you it isn’t. It’s a choice. Whether you’re willing to do what it takes to get the best out of that person or if you’d much rather take the easy route by ignoring their issues and getting rid of them when it gets too much.

The ironic thing is, that’s not even the easier route, is it?

It’s far easier (and MUCH more cost effective) to solve the problem early on. Right?

An employee and her manager talking through work and checking how accountable their are for their own input

How do you build an accountable workforce?

You may have already picked up on the fact that it starts with you. Sorry about that! The day you signed up for leadership, you signed up to lead by example.

So how do you do that?

1. Live and breathe it

This means that when employees give you feedback, you can’t say:

Yes, but I did that because…

In a world of accountability there is no justifications or reasons. They all sound like excuses. Just be courageous and face the feedback with humility and open mindedness.

You can explain your reasons at another time and place.

2. Start talking about accountability and what it means

The words you use bring thoughts into existence.

For your employees to think about accountability, they need to hear you communicate about accountability.

Perhaps you could consider what an accountable culture looks, sounds, and feels like. Start planting seeds by talking about your vision for the team and the culture.

Help them to connect with what it would be like to be an accountable workforce and how it would benefit them.

How much more would they achieve and learn? What opportunities could open up for them if they got better every day by focusing on HOW something could be achieved rather than why it can’t?

3. Encourage accountability during development meetings and performance discussions

If you hear the excuses like “I can’t, because…”, or “I didn’t, because…”, these should set off alarm bells. This is your green like to start thinking about accountability.

Ask them to consider this: If there were no restrictions, how would it be possible?

What would need to happen to make it possible?

How can the barrier be removed?

What other ways could the task be achieved?

The underlying theme for any question you ask is to guide the person to a place of possibility, rather than being stuck inside their own limitation.

Shine the light on the pathways available moving forward.

4. Reward accountability

When people take responsibility, that’s a really good sign of their commitment to get better. It deserves some recognition.

It’s not easy to take 100% responsibility for everything all of the time.

If you start with to be conscious of this you’ll hear excuses around you constantly. Here’s an example:

“I can’t go to the gym because I haven’t got time”

The accountable statement would be:

“I’m not making time to go to the gym”

When people are accountable, let them know that you appreciate it and value it. This will nourish the mind and help them continue to do it in future.

Employee talking to his manager about the work they've done on site and making sure everyone is on the same page

Excuses vs accountable statements

Excuses vs. Accountable Statements From Your Employees examples

The comment theme here is finding the ‘I’. That’s one thing that could have been done differently to achieve a different outcome.

Show your team how to do this by living up to it yourself. Encourage them to find the lesson in every situation!

The benefits are endless, but my favourite is a far more empowered team of people working for you. They’ll be in charge of their circumstance rather than be dragged by the tide in whichever direction it wants without knowing how to swim!

When you find the learn in everything, you don’t predict your future based on your past. You open up possibilities for whatever you want.

Making change requires inspiration and influence, so if you want some help in making these sorts of changes in your business we’re happy to give you some free advice. Send me over an email at natalie@podhr.co.uk with what you’re looking for and what you want to achieve, as well a little information on your business and I’ll get back to you soon with how you can set this up!

Want to become more inspirational? Download our ultimate guide to inspirational leadership

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