My new senior hire is always late. Help!

My new senior hire is always late. Help!

My new senior hire is always late. We discussed expectations during the interview and while we allow for flex hours, this wasn’t our agreement. We’ve had several conversations about it and while she texts me early that day and says she’ll be late or is working from home, it’s getting old fast. Any suggestions? I don’t want to nag.  W.J., New York, NY

When you’re focused on a specific action—in this case, being late—you’re right, it can sound like nagging when you need to address it multiple times. Think instead about what the bigger issue is. It sounds like a planning issue given her last-minute texts.

Also, since it’s a senior hire, I’d also bring her attention to the need to manage perceptions. What tone is she setting when she consistently misses the start of meetings? How does disrespecting other peoples’ time color their impression of her leadership?

It could sound something like this: “Cheryl, we’re glad you decided to join us and are confident that your contributions will make us a better team. In the short time you’ve been here, I’ve noticed a troubling lack of planning, as evidenced by your lack of timeliness and last-minute texts regarding your schedule and wish to work from home. As a leader, it’s especially critical that you set the tone for your team and manage perceptions of your leadership. This pattern needs to change immediately so we can move forward and be confident in your commitment to the company.”

You owe her a clear conversation regarding the implications of her behavior. Then she has the choice to address it or deal with the consequences.

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