The people with whom we choose to surround ourselves can have a strong influence on how we behave. We pick up habits we often don’t even realize. If it’s a good habit, that’s great! It’s the not-so-good, lazy ones which can be quite detrimental.

Punctuality is a difficult one for many people, and I think this one is particularly influenced by those around us.

Early in my career, I had this message driven home from a seasoned boss who grew tired of the attitude our team displayed through our young, arrogant ways. One afternoon he hauled us all into the conference room and chewed on us about our attitudes and behavior that were demonstrating a lack of respect for the business. He schooled us on proper business behaviors, and punctuality was his key message. Individually, I’m sure each of us was perfectly respectable and probably punctual, but group-think can drag down even the best-intentioned.

Being chronically late impacts trust in relationships. People know that they can’t count on you, and they’ll begin treating you accordingly. When you show up late, you’re not only disruptive, but you’re sending the message that you respect your time more than everyone else’s – which is definitely not a relationship-builder!

If you’re stressed and flustered when you arrive, you’ve lost focus and really aren’t at your best for either sharing or receiving information. You’re probably only getting a fraction of the information being discussed when you’re in this mindset.

For some, timeliness is just a given. For others, it’s a nice surprise if it happens – as if being on time is something that happens to us rather that us being the ones responsible for the timeliness of our actions.

I am no exception. I hate tardiness, but in being surrounded by it, it’s something I got used to and adopted the tendency myself. I know it’s not a good habit, and I have to work consciously to make sure I leave and arrive on time. In deciding to make it a priority, it’s changed my behavior and my focus; I’m more relaxed and present in the moment when a meeting/appointment/event starts. I’m also acutely aware of those wandering in late and being disruptive with their apologies of tardiness – which gives me more incentive to be on time!

Do you or someone you know need help kicking the tardiness habit? Check out the article from MedicineNet.com about common reasons for tardiness and suggestions to help change those behaviors: “Help for the Chronically Late.” It’s interesting information and definitely worth a read.

Photo by Alan Cleaver.