Tardiness always bothers me, especially in the office environment. One of my ex-boss mantra “The company is never late in providing your salary at the end of the month hence we should reciprocate”. Another one came from my chemistry teacher back in high school he would start the class even when some students are not in the class yet, his typical comment would be “Don’t punish those who come on time”.
Having these two mantras I have used it from the time I became a leader back in 2003 and it has been working quite well. While other departments struggle with tardiness mine was less of a problem. No feedback no coaching only setting example coming on time and the subordinates would follow and at that time most of my subordinate are much older than me, some even by a decade.
Not until 2013 that I started to bump into totally different type of employee (not trying to stereotyping here). Tardiness was a struggle some would give the typical reason of how bad the traffic is. Some would ask for flexible hour which I decline without giving much reason behind my decision.
The highlight of this was when one of the employee start to scream in front of me and said ” I came late because I go home very late yesterday, I work more than 10 hours ( Her face is giving me that unsaid “Give me a break okay!”). The event happened right after my typical “Good Afternoon” greetings for the employee that came late.
What do I learn from my mistake and why the tardiness keep persists?
- Mockery and being cynical about someones habits is not going to change it.
- 2003 and 2013 employees are different. I came from generation where employees obey the regulation, no question asks. The young ones wants to know more of why are we doing it if we can’t explain why we do what we do, we will be in trouble real soon.
What could have been done differently?
- Have a conversation, prepare to be surprise on the real reason that they are late and start exchanging different perspectives before arriving at agreed solution.
- Say the Impact of their action to the company and them. When everyone comes on time we can start our morning meeting and end it on time, which mean they can start selling right after which at the end increase the possibility of going home earlier which is what they wanted too. Or is it? Maybe this is not what they want then go back to point 1 to find out what’s in if for them.