Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tips for making excuses that may get you off the hook

This article from the Wall Street Journal surveys several business experts and academics for tips on how to make excuses for a botched job that have a better chance of being well received by the boss.  That's not to suggest anyone interviewed for this article thinks mistakes or the excuses that inevitably follow are ever a good thing.  But since we all mess-up once in a while, it's good to have some well-informed advice handy for delivering the mea culpa in a manner that may minimize the damage. You can read the full WSJ column here but below are summarized some of the key points.

  • Give truthful specific reasons for the mishap and show empathy for anyone who was harmed.
  • Showing sincerity and sympathy for those harmed tends to increase acceptance.
  • Provide a detailed, factual explanation and avoid vagueness
  • Managers can avoid lame excuses by emphasizing solutions over blame dodging.
  • Excuses based on circumstances outside your control are more likely to receive a positive reception - but only the first or second time you use it.
  • People are more receptive to an excuse if indicated no harm was intended
  • Making a preemptive excuse before you start the task can engender sympathy but again, this only works once or twice.
  • The excuse must be substantial enough to match the harm done.

Continue reading the WSJ here.

Hat tip to the ABA Journal Blog.



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