You have an employee who seems to be late for just about everything – work, meetings, etc. (He (she) always has a good reason, of course.) There are several effective strategies you can try, but the one I’ve seen used with greatest success is this:
Set up a meeting with him. Have prepared a list of specific occasions when he was late (make the list as long as you can). Read the list to him, then point out the silent message he is sending to the people around him. For example:
“Fred, being late for things once in a while is inevitable. It happens to everybody. But it’s happening to you more often than once in a while. Being late once sends the message, ‘Ooops, I goofed.’ Being late on a number of occasions sends the message, ‘my needs are more important than everyone else’s’ I’m sure that it is not the impression you want to leave people with.”
Once you’ve done this, ask for a commitment to improve the tardiness, then make sure you monitor his behavior over the next couple of months.
[This is from the Archive Project – where we are attempting to get 10 years of Winning at Work on the web! Original publication date: 17 January, 2005]
Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group and has been consulting and speaking on customer experience, employee engagement and workplace performance for 23 years