Are You An IT Manager Who Is Also A Schedule Wrecker?

Depending on when you show up for meetings, you may be wrecking everyone else's schedule
Depending on when you show up for meetings, you may be wrecking everyone else’s schedule
Image Credit: Thomas Hawk

So I’ve got a quick question for you: when you are invited to a meeting, what time do you show up for it? I guess that there are three possible answers to this question: either you show up early, you show up just as the meeting is starting, or you show up late. So which one it it? If you are one of those folks who is always showing up late for meetings, you may not be aware of the impact that you are having on the other people in that meeting and perhaps on your entire company.

What Happens When You Show Up Late To A Meeting

Every IT team has at least one member who is always late showing up for meetings. Is this person you? The reason that this person is showing up late is always a bit of a mystery no matter how good your IT manager skills are, perhaps another meeting ran over; however, the end result is always the same – a group of team members are required to sit around and kill time until this person shows up and the meeting can be started.

Studies have shown that approximately 37% of our meetings start late by at least 15 minutes or more. When someone is late for a meeting, the people who were sitting around waiting for them have now collectively wasted a great deal of time. Additionally, since the meeting started late, there is a good chance that it will end up running late and this will then snowball across the rest of the day and can end up effecting a lot of people who were never in the original meeting.

How big of a deal is this? It turns out that it’s actually a pretty big deal. The people who end up waiting for the person who is always late get put into a bad mood and this can hurt both their creativity and their job performance. 25% of the people who were interviewed about the problem said that they were frustrated when a coworker is 6-10 minutes late. 14% said that they lose concentration and the remaining ones said that they feel insulted, disrespected, and just plain mad.

What Can Be Done To Solve The Problem Of People Who Show Up Late

Ok, so no matter if it is you or someone else, when someone shows up late for meetings over and over it can have an impact on your IT team. You can’t let this situation just linger. You need use your IT manager training to take steps to address it and to improve the state of your team.

One thing that you can try to do is to apply social pressure to get the person to change their behavior. A way to go about doing this is to hold up starting a meeting until the latecomer finally shows up. The embarrassment of showing up for a meeting where everyone is just sitting there waiting for you (including the person running the meeting) can serve as a wake-up call to the offender.

Another effective approach is to start your meetings on time. If someone arrives late, refuse to bring them up to speed on what has already happened in the meeting. The result of this is that they are going to be placed into the uncomfortable situation where they are going to have to go talk with their peers after the meeting in order to find out what they missed. Additionally, creating meeting rules that tell everyone that it’s ok to leave a meeting if if does not end on time can help to keep everyone on schedule.

What All Of This Means For You

What a lot of IT managers don’t realize is that the meetings that we attend at work are all tied together and each meeting contributes to our IT team building. What this means is that if we start to show up late for a meeting, then we’ll cause a snowball effect to happen.

When we’re late to a meeting we end up wasting the time of everyone who had to wait for us to arrive. The meeting may now run late and this will cause problems throughout the company. We may also have angered the people who had to wait for us and they may be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. The best way to solve the problem of someone always showing up late to meetings is to sit down and have a talk with them. They may stop once they understand the impact that their actions are having.

No, having people arrive late at internal meetings is not the biggest thing in the world. However, this is something that can have an outsized impact on how productive a team is and the overall mood of everyone at work. Being aware of the issue and taking steps to start to deal with it is critical. As an IT manager you need to make sure that you are not the one that everyone is sitting around waiting for!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What do you think is the best way to tell someone that they need to stop being late to meetings?

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