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10 Common Excuses That Silently Damage Managers’ Careers

Source | FastCompany : By Karin Hurt And David Dye

You’re working hard to build a good reputation as a manager. So you’re taking on new projects and delegating certain tasks to others. You think you’re getting the hang of it, but then you make a remark that seems to rub someone the wrong way—and you aren’t sure why.

Being decisive and knowing how to say no are important leadership skills, but handled the wrong way, they can come off as excuses that can damage your career. Managers need to lead with confidence, humility, and a long-term focus on building relationships. That means being vigilant about avoiding these statements or anything that sounds like them.

1. “That’s Not My Job”

It might not be, but the work still needs to get done, and it’s up to managers to figure out how. If you can’t bring yourself to help, then look for some other way to be part of the solution—and not just any solution, but one that leads to the results you’re after. Even if you work in a culture of “not-my-job”-sayers, you’ll really stand out when you roll up your sleeves and do the right thing.

2. That Decision’s Above My Pay Grade

In our own professional experience, this excuse turns up at higher levels of businesses—which is really quite strange. Whatever you do, don’t say this to someone who actually does work at a lower pay grade than you. Why? Because your team counts on you to have the confidence to advocate for what’s right, even if that means knocking on the doors of your superiors, not shrugging your shoulders and protecting yourself.

3. That Will Never Work

Just because it didn’t work in the past doesn’t mean it won’t work now. Put away old biases and really listen before you dismiss something that sounds outlandish or risky. If there’s even the potential of merit behind an idea your company hasn’t tested, consider some sort of pilot or other toe-dipping venture. Whatever you do, be receptive and encouraging. If you hear others using this phrase as an excuse for not trying something, ask them, “What would it look like if this did work?”

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