Doesn’t it frustrate you when people continually come to meetings late?! Even if it is 15 minutes, there are consequences for everyone involved. You will need to go through material again that has already been covered, or if you don’t go back over the material again, the later comer will ask questions that slow the meeting down. Questions that would not need to be asked if they had arrived on time!

As a manager, this type of behaviour should be addressed. If you let it go, it will lead to continued frustration for you, and everyone else in the team. Use the SBI model plan and structure the conversation:

Start with the Standard:  Describe the expected behaviour. Have you as the leader ever communicated the expectation that every meeting starts on time? If not, is it any wonder that people some people arrive when they like? You may think that starting on time is obvious, but without expressly stating the expectations, the culture will naturally evolve, and it may not be what you want!

Behaviour: With the standard agreed to, move on to discussing the current behaviour. Make sure you describe the observable behaviour without mentioning any personal character traits. Imagine you have set up a video camera. Describe what you observe. The team member arrives 15 minutes late to every meeting. That’s measurable, and observable.

Impact: there is no point addressing a behaviour if there is no impact. In this scenario, the impact may include wasting time for others, frustration and inefficiency. Describing the impact helps your team member to understand why you are even bothering having this conversation. Consistent use of the SBI model can lead to behavioural change.

The SBI model helps you to plan difficult conversations, focusing on tangible issues. Remember this is a conversation so ask for feedback, and ask for a commitment at the end, with a simply question such as, “How does that sound to you?”

Downloadable template below will help you as you prepare your difficult conversations.

Also, check out Having Difficult Conversations – Don’t tell, ask questions.


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