Please think of how many circumstances where a situation became more troubling and problematic because you had to sit outside and wait to have the chance to discuss it with someone in power. Think back to the last time you had some circumstances that caused you to call the phone company or the utility company, and how the longer you waited on hold, the more anxious and upset you became because now you were also mad about the delay and the waiting. Ask yourself which patients feel more comfortable, those taken on or nearly on time in a doctor’s office, or those who had to sit outside to see the doctor for an important time after the scheduled appointment.
As important as this issue is to business, excellent leaders must learn a lesson from this: others acknowledge you much more if they feel considerate. This all starts with being prompt and appearing and beginning when announced and scheduled.
Take the situation when a leader is supposed to give a presentation or delivers a speech to a crowd at a pre-planned time. Invitees have taken effort and time to be there to listen, and a true leader understands that how she/he is seen often determines how others listen. When a leader begins on time, she indicates that she understands the attendees and does not want to waste their time. She gets right into what she wants to say, and while anecdotes and humor are often helpful during a speech, a true leader must first set the mood and build the message that he has something she feels necessary to communicate, and at the very least, whets their desire and gets their attention.
On the other hand, viewers often get anxious and edgy, as well as annoyed, when a leader does not at least have the courtesy of started promptly.
It is often challenging enough for even the best leader to communicate her message to a group. However, if she at least takes account of attendees’ willingness to show up and gives them knowledge so that when they walk away, they feel they used their time in a beneficial manner, the ability to get through is improved. An average orator who begins promptly and shows his respect for an audience will often get more reliable results than even a great orator who loses the crowd because of his seeming discourtesy by not being on time.
Leaders must show an eagerness to listen, as well as an approach of caring. This often starts with building a positive (and natural) attitude by starting on time rather than starting at a disadvantage.
When a leader does not start a meeting or a conference on time, in the future, more and more members will come late themselves because they feel there is a specific pervasive attitude that has been set. Therefore, when someone in power is late, she often begins by putting her agenda at a handicap.
Leaders must be caring and courteous. This often starts with something as basic as appearing on time!