Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

How to Separate Reasons From Excuses

How to Separate Reasons From Excuses

How to Separate Reasons From Excuses.

Managers need to understand the important difference between a "reason" and an "excuse" for not doing something.

Unfortunately, most managers have confused the issue by accepting into their minds, the concept of a "Reasonable-excuse".

The concept of a reasonable-excuse is a confusion. Reasons are very different from excuses.

What are the qualities that unify all reasons, and which make them REASONS?

And what are the opposing qualities that unify all excuses, and which make them EXCUSES?

What are the differences between a reason and an excuse?

All reasons are:

  1. True (honest).
  2. The person had no options, other than to act the way they did.
  3. The person has no control over circumstances.
  4. The behaviour was a one-off event.
  5. Their behaviour was reasonable under the circumstances.
  6. Their behaviour was a proportionate response to the situation.
  7. The event that caused the behaviour was unpredictable.

Whereas, excuses are wholly the opposite:

  1. Untrue (dis-honest).
  2. The person had many options but chose the wrong action
  3. The person had some control over circumstances but did not exercise any.
  4. Multiple use of the same old story.
  5. Their behaviour was UN-reasonable under the circumstances.
  6. Their behaviour was a DIS-proportionate response to the situation.
  7. The event that caused the behaviour, was easily predictable.

Managers must distinguish between reasons and excuses and have a different policy for each.

What should be your policy for those people who offer you valid reasons?

Negotiate with them and find a middle ground concession.

What should be your policy for those people who offer you only invalid excuses?

DON'T Negotiate with them and DON'T give them unearned concessions. Instead, stand firm!

For Example: Is this a Reason or an Excuse?

If I had been late for work on three consecutive days and you asked me why, and I replied, "Heavy traffic in the city-centre is why I have been late."

Would that be a valid reason that you should accept? If not, why not?

Summary

Managers need to be clear upon what they will accept as a reason, and what they will not. Our Human Resources Management Training course deals with these issues.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Your Comments

Further Reading in People Management

  • Better People Management Skills
    Improving your people management skills will help you to make more progress towards your goals. At home too, your happiness is directly related to how much cooperation you can get from your family.
    Read Article >
  • How to Use Behavioural Modification
    It is easy to give in to someone to "keep them quiet" but giving in to bad behaviour will only encourage them to try the same tactic in the future. We explore the causes of bad behaviour and ways to modify the behaviour.
    Read Article >
  • How to improve your people-management skills
    Managing people correctly is an important skill for every successful manager. Many people step into the role of manager without any formal training, and will need to be taught good people management skills.
    Read Article >
  • How to Manage Difficult People in Meetings
    Unproductive meetings cost time and money. There are five main types of people who may attend your meetings, discover how their personalities could disrupt your ability to hold a productive meeting and learn how to deal with them effectively.
    Read Article >
  • How to Separate Reasons From Excuses
    Many people believe in the concept of a 'reasonable excuse'. This is a misconception, since reasons are very different from excuses. We examine the differences between excuses and reasons and show you how you should treat them both.
    Read Article >