The world of Covid, the new normal, with its Zoom meetings, social distancing, and travel avoidance must be a godsend for people who are always late.
Instead of having to struggle with cars, bicycles or public transport, all they have to do now is to shuffle the few steps over to their sofa. They don’t even have to get dressed properly. Throwing some kind of jacket over their pyjamas is enough for them to be good to ‘go’ to the business meeting.
They have no more excuses for being late. Or do they?
Is being late so ingrained in their psyche that they will continue to ‘run’ late, missing their own living room couch like they used to miss the train?
Why are some people always late?
A lot of research has gone into the phenomenon of the constantly tardy, and it’s no wonder. Why are some, actually many, people so reliably late that you can almost set your watch by them? The answers range from “They were born late, dithering even in the womb” to “It’s their blood type” to something about cerebellum, cortex or their inner clock. I don’t think any scientists have found a definite answer yet.
At least in my experience, the people who are always late really are always late. That’s why I think it’s definitely something to do with the wiring of their brain. No one can miss that many trains, not even on purpose. Not even subconsciously on purpose because they secretly want to get fired.
If they really did it deliberately out of a lack of respect for other people’s time, it would be too awful to contemplate. Irritating, impractical and often incomprehensible as repeated tardiness is, I must believe that the people holding up meetings, dinners and flights are just born that way.
Their brain must be calibrated to a different speed, one in which an hour – or five minutes – appears like ‘all the time in the world’. Much like I always get up early and don’t need an alarm clock because I was born that way.
Are people who are always late secretly geniuses?
Or…perhaps people who are always late are like genius artists but without the talent? Or like innocent children wandering awestruck through a wondrous world where everything is worth spending time exploring?
I have a friend who missed three international flights in two months (one from Norway to the US) because he just “forgot to go to the airport”! But then again, he is a professor of philosophy and so can be excused for being lost in thought.
In the world of business, on the other hand (even that impacted by Covid), being always late is a terrible handicap. Unless it is managed and controlled, it can quickly become a fire-able offence.
We help you understand your people
So, until we find a vaccine against tardiness, we have to take steps to help the ‘tardies’ become more punctual and reliable. Yes, there are practical tips to improve time management. However, Managers – and ultimately businesses – benefit from identifying and, yes, avoiding, the most extreme cases.
People with a high degree of impatience often thrive in a fast-paced environment. They are restless, don’t cope well with repetitive tasks and approach everything with a sense of urgency. Like me, I suspect they might wake up early because they just can’t be bothered to wait for dawn.
If this intensity around time is paired with a need to be careful with rules, then deadlines become immovable. Being late is simply not an option! It is easy to see how this natural disposition might lead to friction or irritation in a team where someone is always late or ‘economical with punctuality’.
The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment™
At Predictive Advantage, we help our clients to predict on-the-job success using a range of scientifically-validated assessments. The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment allows you to identify which team member is likely to be strict around punctuality and who tends to see deadlines as negotiable.
Armed with this in-depth knowledge into your employees’ core behavioural traits, you can begin to better understand your employees and address team friction. Which makes for an altogether smoother, more harmonious and productive workday.