Working with people who do not respect time as much as you do? 4 tips sure to aggravate you ;)

If you hail from a culture where time is respected (Germany, US, Canada, UK, Holland)  and you find yourself working with people who come late, multi task on their phones while speaking with you, ramble and “abuse” your time, here are 4 tips.

1-Examine if this is a  discipline issue or a cultural issue? If it is a cultural issue, a disciplinary “fix” may not help; at best you may get “apparent compliance” to any discipline patch you may apply.

2-Ask yourself if your own “orderly and disciplined style” annoys them and how? Does you strict time management limit their creativity? Do you put them in a straight jacket where time is the major constraint?

3) See what benefit can you gain by going with their flow and letting go about your own obsessive time management.

4)  Cultures simply show respect for time differently. Example: the person will stay in a meeting until all issues are solved-even if it means cancelling the next 4 meetings. Or, the person priorities family so much that they take family calls during work…..and will allow you leeway as well. Refrain from judgement about good and bad because many people who do not “respect time” may have great value.

5) If the corporate culture demands respect for time, you can expect ‘apparent compliance”. Naomi, for example constantly comes late to meetings but apologizes profusely. Lin comes on time and leaves meeting multiple times to talk on the phone. Corporate culture can mitigate lack of respect for time, but it cannot redesign culture.

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7 thoughts on “Working with people who do not respect time as much as you do? 4 tips sure to aggravate you ;)

  1. It seems as if every group/culture has its own version of it. We always refer to “Jewish Standard Time”. When I worked in a unit with all Black people, they used to call it “CP Time”.

  2. Great tips! Living with a Hispanic husband, working in a global role, having lived in Switzerland and being an American woman who over-schedules herself I find these very helpful, thanks for sharing!

  3. Typical Liberal Rubbish. The producer has to bend over and take it from the slacker wasting their resources.

  4. In Venezuela up to 45 minutes late was still counted as on-time. And of course the most important person would always come last. If you avoid backing meetings up, it gets to be a freeing way to work.

  5. My wife, a church musician, has provided music for hundreds if not thousands of weddings over her 40+ year career. Almost every bride is late. But certain brides from certain cultural backgrounds “take the cake!” During the busy seasons for weddings, if there is more than one scheduled in a given day, late starts can cause major havoc.

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