Leaders Address Lateness

A very common transgression that starts small, then grows when not addressed, is lateness.

Whether it’s late delivering on a deadline, or late to meetings, it needs to be addressed early and directly.

How? Let’s start by addressing meeting lateness.

Below are four approaches; feel free to adapt however is most comfortable for you.

Note that if you inject DiSC into your decision-making, you’ll have more success.

For the “D” person, whose priorities are Results, Action, and Challenge:

“I know it seems like not much happens in the first few minutes of a meeting, and so getting more work done on your own, then showing up late, seems like you’re getting more done without missing anything. But you’ve got to know this – we’re waiting for you. If you were there at the start, we’d start earlier and end earlier.”


“It’s no secret that you’re interested in getting ahead here – that you consider yourself worthy of promotion. A quick way to lose momentum on that is to be late. Whether it seems valuable or not for you to be early or on time, the simple fact is that I notice, and others notice. Please start showing up on time. Benefits you, and benefits the team.”

For the “i” person, whose priorities are Enthusiasm, Action, and Collaboration:

“Dude – I know you’re late because you’re making sure you’re keeping in touch with everyone and everything – it’s clear you’re moving, and not slacking. It’s also true that folks notice when you’re late, and folks are getting annoyed. Is there anything standing in the way of you being on time? Need more clear reminders? We really want you there on time!”

For the “S” person, whose priorities are Support, Stability, and Collaboration:

“Hey – we need to talk about something tough here. We’ve been trying to start these meetings on time, but it’s hard when we’re not all there, and you’ve been a part of that. We want and need you at the start of each meeting. Is there something I’m missing? Or did you not realize how important your punctual presence is? Can we work on fixing this, please?”

For the “C” person, whose priorities are Accuracy, Stability, and Challenge:

“We need to address something. You’ve been at least 5 minutes late to 3 out of the last 4 team meetings, and it’s kept us from doing our best work. Is there a specific reason that you’re late, or can you be expected to show up on time for future meetings?”

With some creativity, you can adapt these to address missed deadlines, too.

The exact words aren’t important; addressing people’s motivations is important.

What works for you?

6 Responses

  1. Samantha
    | Reply

    I’m always late, and you nailed it for “i”s. If someone came at me with the S or C comments, I’d disregard. But the I comment hit me. Just another reminder why DISC works. I will share with my team.

  2. Laura
    | Reply

    Ok – I’m the lone “S” here – but pretty much – all you have to say to me is “Please?” …….. DiSC – it works!

  3. nicholas
    | Reply

    well explained, I will always be the first in any meeting

    • Alan Feirer
      | Reply

      Great commitment, Nicholas – now report that intention to YOUR supervisor, and ask to be held accountable. Any personal improvement commitment, when reported to a supervisor, makes a good impression.

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