This question comes from a follower who wonders what to do about a colleague who consistently arrives to meetings late. Not only does it cause a disruption to the meeting, but the leader of the meeting will stop the discussion in order to bring this person up to speed.
It is not uncommon to have this situation happen. Of course, we want our colleagues to feel included in the discussion. However, this can be disruptive and feel like a waste of everyone else’s time.
You may need to have two separate conversations: one with your co-worker who is always late to meetings and then, one with your boss who stops the meeting to bring this person “up to speed.”
1) Ask for a private meeting with your colleague who comes late to meetings. Tell him that you notice he arrives at a certain time and that the meetings start at a different time. (Don’t add judgement to the observation by using the word “late.”) And then ask what might help to get him there on time.
2) In a separate meeting, discuss with your boss what you notice: that the meeting stops when someone arrives after the meeting has started. And ask how the team can operate to make the meetings productive and effective.
One of our followers asks a question about company meetings that involve a lot of “personal talk.” Company organizations often offer opportunities for colleagues to socialize and exchange personal information. The “water cooler” is alive and well in most businesses today.
Some co-workers may feel “left out” or offended that the talk is not of a professional nature. We often hear conversations turn to fashions, kids, pets, the latest TV shows or other non-work activities.
What should we do?
We often observe employees who want to talk about personal topics as a way to build relatedness with other employees. This is to be expected, and we can limit this talk to time outside of meetings.
Remember that your observation about how others might feel is based on your interpretation of the situation. You might want to get someone else’s perspective and to involve the team in the discussion.
Ask the group. Tell them what you notice about the time and how it is being spent at the start of the meeting and ask how you might be more productive with your time.
Ask those you feel are being left out how they feel about the situation and what would help.
Tell them what you notice and ask questions. It’s our “go to” strategy when looking for perspectives.