A recent college grad asked me for advice on how to succeed with a new job. And this was it. To “show-up-on-time.” Likewise, a company owner recently asked me for advice on how to build morale in their office. And this was it. To “show-up-on-time.” It doesn’t matter if you are the newest member to the department or the vice president; everyone is accountable to the show-up-on-time rule.
And, by the way, “on time” means ten minutes early.
Let’s say your meeting starts at 10:00am. Here is a breakdown of options.
Arrive at 10:15
You are communicating to your colleagues that your time is more valuable than their time. This will breed disrespect and discontent.
Arrive at 10:05
You are communicating that you are a bit disorganized and unpredictable. This will breed a lack of confidence in your abilities.
Arrive at 10:00
You are communicating that you are there simply for the meeting at hand – nothing more. This will cause your colleagues to think of you as a decent person, but it will not give your co-workers the warm and fuzzies or create goodwill.
Arrive at 9:55
You are communicating that you are ready for the meeting and pleased that it is happening. Meeting members will believe that you are a team player.
Arrive at 9:50
You are demonstrating that you are interested in advancing the project at hand. You can capitalize on these extra ten minutes by networking with others at the table, prewiring any sentiments you have on the issue at hand, internally resetting yourself to a new task, and offering to help the meeting leader get set-up. Co-workers will learn that you are dependable, trustworthy, and engaged. They will also just like you more.
There is no good excuse for being late
Some people arrive to meetings late and secretly hope they appear ‘busy’ to others. Granted, you ARE busy. But everyone else is too. This thinking is misplaced because no one likes a better-than-thou and too-busy-for-you meeting member. Trust me. No one cares about traffic, or the fact you had to take the dog to the vet, or that your last meeting ran late, or that just need to run quickly to grab some water. People simply want you in your seat on time.
In fact, the busier you are, and the fuller your plate, the more your co-workers will respect your extra effort in these few minutes.
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Dr. Ganem is founder and director of Lion Leadership, a company that helps growing businesses with talent management and organizational effectiveness. She is primary writer for the ROAR blog at www.ImTheLion.com where readers gain perspective on themselves, their organizations, and how to reach their potential at work.