Don’t Tell Me About the Labor Pains. Just Show Me The Baby.

Early in my career I learned a valuable lesson from a great leader. When I didn’t deliver on a project, I had nothing but a list of excuses and blame. His response? “Don’t tell me about the labor pains – just show me the baby.” He wasn’t interested in excuses, or blaming someone else. All he wanted was a completed project. Recently, I’ve been dealing with some people who feel they need to place blame for their inability to deliver, or at least give me an excuse why another person made their work difficult. My answer?

“Don’t tell me about the labor pains – just show me the baby.” Suck it up. I don’t care that Bob didn’t return your call, Susan missed her deadline, or Jack never responded to your email. That’s your problem, not mine. All I want to know is when it’s going to be delivered.

If you have problems with other team members or employees, don’t run to the boss, deal with it directly.

Become a problem SOLVER, not a BLAMER.

Lead – even if it’s with team members on the same level as you.  Your boss has enough problems. He or she isn’t interested in your complaints about other people.

Got it?

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  1. I have a burnt out team case because the boss wants new babies even before the one in the womb is out. I think this mindset can be dangerous for some bosses to read about and feed their unbalanced expectation.

  2. Phil, from a your perspective, where do you think is the line at which point a leadership-minded report needs to escalate? I am in complete agreement that one needs to be proactive in solving issues, but there are some situations that require escalating. Any thoughts on what are the flags that indicate escalation might be appropriate?

    1. I assume by “escalating” you mean reporting on whatever is keeping your from accomplishing the task? If that’s the case, I’d say if it’s endemic. If it’s some thing or some person who’s continually a wrench in the process. Someone is incompetent, shows up drunk, misses work over and over, etc. If this is the problem – then it’s time to get serious and report it.

      1. Another note: My original post above was for the 90% of times it’s simply something you should deal with and not pass up the ladder. If we could just eliminate THAT, it would make a huge difference for productivity.

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