Previously, we’ve discussed compulsive actions or behaviors and the negative affect they can cause through additional tension and stress.
At one point, we’ve used examples of people who are compulsively punctual. I’d like to turn that around a bit to discuss the negative effects of going too far in the other direction.
Certainly, compulsively punctual people can cause extra stress and tension on themselves first, but there can also be a cost to those around them as they basically force others to adhere to their obsessive schedule.
Early in my management career, I worked for such a person. Several times a week, this manager scheduled a mandatory meeting 30 minutes after the end of the evening shift. It was an important meeting for about a dozen first level supervisors. At five minutes to the appointed time, the conference room door was locked so anyone arriving ‘late’ could not enter. The penalty? A personal one-on-one meeting with the "boss" which could be very uncomfortable! The message was simple, “There’s no excuse for being late,” as you’re disadvantaging the entire team.
While some think that constantly being early is not a bad thing, nobody wants to be constantly forced into it, and the effect on work teams can be destructive. It's not much fun, and when people feel pushed, it can be natural to push back.
So, what happens when a team member is constantly late? One solution is do something similar to what I discussed earlier; however, that may not work so well today, or in all situations.
Interestingly, though, that same stress and tension typically plays out within the group, and the effect can be destructive. Someone may need to cover for the missing team member, take on extra duties, and can find themselves behind on their own work. If it happens often enough, the rest of the group begins to question the late arriver's commitment to their job and the rest of the team.
If you are a constant "late arriver," there is a balance to be found, and it begins with a little research. What gets in the way of a smooth on-time arrival? Do you find yourself pulled in too many directions as you get ready for work, a meeting or a project milestone? If so, a little re-organization of priorities can make a big difference. If on-time arrival or meeting a deadline is a part of your job requirements, then assigning priorities may be the simple answer.
If arriving late is an established, lifelong pattern, why is that so? Where does it come from? Identifying the source of the behavior puts you halfway toward changing the pattern. If you truly want to change any behavior, then start creating new pictures of yourself arriving on time. Paint the picture of the benefits, key on those pictures, and watch the behaviors—and those of your work team—change for the better.
Think about it...