What Showing Up on Time Says About You


I once heard someone say that being on time means being 5 minutes early. There are many great leadership qualities, skills and traits we can learn and develop. But none of them will matter if you can’t be on time.

When you show up late, you are inadvertently communicating to those around you something about yourself.

You can walk into a room with the greatest presentation, all ready to go. But if you show up late, you have already turned everyone off and they aren’t likely to give you their full attention.

Image courtesy of Adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I personally always plan to be early no matter where I am going. When I need to be somewhere at 9:00am, I plan to be there by 8:50am.

Things go wrong, traffic detours, you spill coffee on the way out the door, etc. The list of excuses (I mean reasons!) are endless.

No one is perfect, sometimes you sleep in or you lose track of time.

If you find yourself consistently running behind, it’s no longer a situation beyond your control. It becomes a realization that you are actually not in control.

Next week I am going to talk about ways you can manage your time better to be on time.

Here are 3 concepts being on time communicates to others:

1. You are prepared. You might not feel prepared (hopefully you are). When you show up on time for a meeting you show those meeting with you that you are ready to fully engage with them.

The flip side is when you show up late, with papers flying around, trying to connect to the Wi-Fi to get your notes then reassuring the others that you’re ready to go….they aren’t going to buy it!

Those on your team are looking to you to set the standard.

2. You are trustworthy. When you set a time to meet with someone, in essence you are giving them your word. I don’t like wasting my time waiting for someone to show up and neither does anyone else.

When you are late, you are breaking your word. It undermines your integrity and communicates to the other person that you are untrustworthy.

That’s saying a lot about you as a person for something that seems too simple.

3. You can handle more. A dead-end job is one with no forward movement. Not many people see this as a good thing.

You may be in a dead-end job, but you are not in a dead-end life. Things can change! Are you ready to handle the change?

You have to be able to handle what you have if you expect your superiors to give you a shot at something greater.

If you can’t show up on time it shows others you aren’t disciplined, organized and can’t be trusted.

Life is a lot less stressful when you are on time.

Being on time is a simple concept and doesn’t take a PhD to accomplish, but it does speak volumes about you, how organized you are and how much you can handle.

Next week, we are going to look at some strategies to help you be on time. For now, share a story of when you have had to wait for someone who was late.

How did that make you feel about that person?

Paul Jolicoeur

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Husband, Father, Disciple, Blogger, writer, author. Learner & desire to make an impact on others. Each one of us have influence on the world and this influence is a gift. We can continue to grow and increase in our influence.
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“Integrity is the backbone of your character. Your character is the foundation of your leadership”

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13 responses to What Showing Up on Time Says About You

  1. My mom-in-law used to run 30-45 min late every time she was going anywhere for as long as my husband can remember.

    They showed up an hour late to Thanksgiving dinner once, and we started after waiting a half an hour for them. I had to say when we invite you for a meal, if you are late we will start without you. Surprisingly, Christmas they were there on time 🙂

  2. This is a great post Paul. In fact, I had the exact same message written in my journal as a future post on my blog. Great minds think alike! When it gets written, I will cross reference your post. By the way, I also like your use of Standard Theme. Keep up the great work! It is a certainly a good habit to arrive early to meetings. The greatest challenge I’ve run into is meetings that run into other meetings. But I’m noticing more people scheduling 45 min meetings vs 60 mins. Every minute counts!

  3. The biggest thing that concerns me about being punctual is the fact that as leaders, we’re always being watched. How can we expect our team to make it to the office and to meetings on time, when we can’t even do it ourselves. Like you said, the example has to be set. You can only expect what you model.

  4. So true. I was once told punctuality is the virtue of princes. I think it’s a trait that demonstrates integrity more than most others.

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