Build respect as a leader by being on time

One of my pet peeves is being late. To me, if I have arrived less than 15 minutes early, I am late. Are you that way?

Or are you on the other side of the fence where you are afraid your kids will have to tell you their wedding is 4 hours beforehand so you can get there on time?

The busier we get, the easier it is to run late. Even with all the technology in the world to ding, buzz, or in any other way annoy us into being on time. Now step into your leadership role. You have more responsibility, and no more hours in the day. Ironically, now more than ever, being on time is critical. Your team is watching you. You are setting the standard for not only how your team will work with you, but how they will work when you are not around.

Build respect as a leader by being on time

Although your team appreciates how busy you are working and running from meeting to meeting, it can hurt their trust for you if you are late for your team meetings or one-on-ones on a regular basis. Being on time shows you not only care about the work that needs to get done, but the people doing the work. Running late, however, can be contagious.

The more often you show up late, the more often your team starts to show up late for the same meetings. This always surprises me, but I catch myself doing it! And I despise being late! However, if I know that the meeting usually doesn’t get started until 15 minutes after the meeting time, I will unconsciously start to run late. Now throw in a few team members who aren’t as worried about time and your one hour meeting either gets shrunk to a few minutes of productivity, or takes up another hour to get on track.

What about the meetings your team attends without you? If you are habitually late, you are teaching them that it’s ok to represent your team that way as well. Now the other departments in your organization see your team as “the ones that are always late.” Day to day, this may not seem like a big deal, but I have been through several budget cutbacks and layoffs. If you as the leader are not respected AND your team is not respected, you could be in danger.

Take control of your time

What can you do about it today? I know you are super busy! If you are the one who schedules your calendar make a conscious effort to have a 15-30 minute gap between meetings.  If someone else schedules your time, make sure they know you need a gap in there.

Give yourself time to…

  • have the occasional meeting that runs lon
  • get from one meeting to the next
  • capture thoughts after a meeting, before the next one starts
  • get your thoughts in order for the next meeting so that you can be more productive

Call, Text, or Email and apologize

You will be late some of the time. That’s life. It’s how you handle it that makes the difference. If you know you will be late, take the few seconds to let someone know who can relay to the group (or the individual) you are meeting with. When you arrive, apologize for being late. Don’t worry about having a fancy excuse, just let them know that you do honor their time, and appreciate them waiting.




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