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How to Deal With Employee Excuses

While it’s been said that employers and managers should be understanding and compassionate, this can prove difficult to do if you have underlings who are not distinguished for their work ethic and who’d much rather spend their time coming up with excuses than actually working.

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These situations are always difficult to deal with, especially if you are a busy individual who has no time to spare in order to fight and talk some sense into their employees. But, you should know that the longer you let situations like these pass you by, the more difficult it can be to actually deal with and put an end to them.


This is why it’s important to deal with these issues promptly. You will not only gain respect, but it will also help you promote a more sincere work culture.

1. Don’t Say It’s Fine

Employees are adults so they are not really allowed to come up with lame excuses to cover for their mistakes. If they are recurrently late at work then this issue should be addressed, if they never meet their deadlines or if they come unprepared for staff meetings, then these issues should also be addressed.

As the manager or employer you will find that often you are far too busy to deal with Mike’s alarm that didn’t go off and caused him to be late yet again. So, rather than dealing with it, you might be inclined to say ‘it’s fine’, but it’s not fine and Mike should know so.

The more you let things pass, the more your employees will take advantage of the situation. Of course, it’s not all of them that you should be worried about but there are those employees who will repeatedly fall short on their responsibilities and it’s because of them that you shouldn’t let things slip by more than a couple of times.

2. Take Your Time

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So, rather than saying that it’s fine, make sure that you take your time to reply or scold them, this will make them understand that you are not happy with their behaviour and it might make them realize that their actions should not be repeated again.

So, if said Mike makes an excuse for being late again, take a long pause, look up to them with a straight face and explain that you are busy and this is an issue that you and he will need to discuss when you are free.

If on the other hand, the problem was with one of your employees not delivering to the client in time and the client has come complaining to you simply forward them the message and let them know that you need a full account of why the delivery was late. This way you’ll be giving yourself time, while you’ll also be making your employee understand that that was not cool at all.

3. Make Time to Address the Issues

It’s understandable that as a leader you are busy, but it’s also important to find the time to manage your time.

Make the time to discuss even the tiniest issues with repeated offenders. Don’t get angry or threaten them, but do tell them that it’s disappointing and that you don’t want to hear excuses again. Point out to them that you know when they are trying to manipulate you and that this will no longer be acceptable.

Needless to say that if you find that the problem lies with you and your management –for example, if they tell you that they feel overburdened and that that’s the reason they’ve been falling behind their deadlines- accept the criticism and reassure them that you’ll rethink your strategies.

4. Work Closely With Them

After discussing the issues with your team member make sure that you tell them that you’ll be working closely with them for some time, make sure that they understand that this is not a scare tactic and that it’s just a precaution. This will help your employees understand that you have expectations from them and that if they start falling behind their responsibilities it causes you reason for worrying.

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It’s important to note that you shouldn’t be on your toes every time something happens in the office. You are working with people so things are bound to happen, just keep your eyes open for repeated offenders.