Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why do you choose to make excuses?!

***Apologies in advance.  If you are looking for funny material or something about me then this is not the blog you want to read.  I am about to vent so please feel free to skip this one and maybe tomorrow it'll be some happy stuff again ... I hope it can be. ***

Many of you know that I am a Supervisor of a team of representatives for Progressive Insurance in our Colorado Springs call center.  I almost always love my job.  The people I work with (in almost all titles and positions) are really great.  So why do some people always try to ruin it by looking for the negative or by making excuses for everything instead of just taking responsibility for their own inadequacies?!

I will not get into specifics so as to protect the innocent (including me from any sort of "on-line" guidelines I may not fully understand).  But I just have to vent somewhere, even though I know the main offender will NEVER read this blog and I'll have to just give them feedback in person ... if I can tolerate the excuses long enough to get my point across.

I prefer to follow the teachings of my father, who often quoted Joseph Smith's counsel to "teach correct principles and let people govern themselves."  I believe this allows for minimal hands-on management (or as many refer to it "micro-management.")  The problem is ... it requires those being led to take ownership of their OWN actions and actually utilize some of those "correct principles."

To be VERY clear ... most of the people I work with actually do get this!  I have been able for years now to lead a variety of reps in our team (I also espouse the team as being a group I am a part of and not that it is "my" team).  Almost all have recognized the flexibility that I try to create by allowing individuals to be creative in how they achieve the business goals we have before us.  I do not ignore the issues (if someone is getting good results through unscrupulous practices I will most definitely call them on it).  But I also try very hard not to dictate what and when and how things should be done.  I probably fail some in that area, but it is often because I am trying to provide ideas to someone who refuses to generate solutions and only finds problems.

This brings us to my venting for the day.  I have one person I work with who has come up with excuses for their performance EVERY SINGLE TIME an issue has been brought to their attention.  And today was the last straw for me.  I literally had to avoid a conversation with this person because they were pushing ALL my buttons.  (I am trying carefully not to say "he" or "she" to further protect anonymity.)  The job this person is in has some complexity to it ... but no where near the level this person seems to make it out to be.  And if it really is that complex for you ... why are you still working this same job?!  It's too hard.  I can't do it.  This isn't what I like.  You're asking the impossible.  I am seriously willing to take bets on when he/she will say "My hair hurts so I can't take calls today."

I believe in treating people like adults.  But when you choose to act like a child by:
 - blaming others and making excuses
 - changing your story and by changing the subject
 - asking for help without having any ideas on how I can possibly help you
then I have no choice but to treat you as a child and be the micro-managing "adult" in the relationship.  There is no other option when your kid starts kicking and screaming in the grocery store about not getting the cereal they want.  You just have to take them out of the store and not reward their poor choice of behavior.  It is a sad commentary on society that adult-aged people in the workforce choose to kick and scream about not getting their snack before bedtime.  You didn't do your chores or your homework!  Why on EARTH do you think you should get a snack?!  It is called EARNING a living for a REASON!!!!  It implies that you use that thing in your skull for problem solving and solution creating ... and to be clear, blaming others is NOT a "solution."

From the Ok Go video for
"This Too Shall Pass"
Anyway, thanks for listening ... sorry for the boring and angry entry.  I feel better now and can get some sleep tonight that will hopefully fill me with the courage and energy I need to face this sort of thing tomorrow and beyond.  As the group Ok Go sings in their song "This too shall pass."  And there are actually two cool videos of that song on YouTube so if you read this far you can reward yourself by checking them out ... and you can also watch there "Here it goes again" video where they do the treadmill dancing that you've probably heard about.  Maybe reading this far wasn't too much of a waste of your time after all.

Good night!


  1. Sorry for a bummer day. Hope tomorrow is better for you :)

  2. Sometimes a sing the dora song when the whining starts. the child response just makes it go off.. I don't even plan it, it just happens. :) But it provides perspective :)

  3. I am glad that you were able to vent about this issue and I'm sorry that you have such a difficult rep! I remember dealing with people exactly like that (always blaming other people or circumstances for their mistakes!) Hang in there..."this too shall pass!"