Think about the last time someone around you screwed up, like missed a deadline, forgot to turn in a report or didn't show up on a conference call.
Did they offer an excuse, something like, "You know, I was just so busy?"
If so, that's not surprising. "I'm busy" seems to be a popular excuse for poor performance nowadays. Worse, it seems socially acceptable.
I cringe when I hear "I'm busy." Everyone is busy. Busy-ness isn't unique to anyone. When I work with people who use this excuse, what they usually mean is:
- I'm late for the call because I didn't plan appropriately.
- I have few boundaries and routinely drop things.
- I'm rescheduling on you (again) because this isn't a priority for me.
- I want you to feel sorry for me because I have so much to do.
- I don't know how to manage my time.
- This is the best excuse I've got for why I can't keep my commitments.
If you find yourself giving "I'm busy" as an excuse too often, know that the only way to learn and grow as a leader is to develop a sense of accountability for your actions.