When Sarah comes late

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Sarah is a charming person and she does good work.
There’s just one thing. Sarah is late a lot.

When Sarah is late, especially first thing in the morning, everyone has to
wait for her. The morning team stand-up gets put on hold. At first it was almost
funny and people made little jokes about it.

The jokes have turned to almost-angry comments. “What is it this time?” a
team member asked last week. Sarah always has a “good reason” and she always
apologizes when she’s late. That almost makes it worse.

Sarah’s boss, Jim, has mentioned the issue to Sarah, in an off-hand way. He
knows it’s irritating, but he thinks that he should cut Sarah some slack
because, after all, she does good work. Besides, he thinks, it’s a pretty small
matter to confront someone about. What Jim is missing is how this all affects
the team and his reputation.

Team members are angry at Sarah, but they’re angrier at Jim for letting her
get away with behavior that makes everyone’s life harder. They’re losing respect
for Jim because he’s putting his comfort ahead of the work of accomplishing the
mission and caring for the team members.

Boss’s Bottom Line

Your job is to look after the whole team and confront team members about
performance or behavior when it affects morale or mission accomplishment.
Remember: what you allow, you condone.

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