I’ve written before about chronically late leaders and the damage it causes, but now we’re seeing the direct impact that regularly being late can have on your career. No less than the Mayor of New York City – Bill DeBlasio is taking a beating from his peers and the press because he’s chronically late. Apparently, he has a long history of tardiness, and the Wall Street Journal reports: “People close to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spent months in 2014 urging him to stop being late for events, worried the habit was damaging his image and overshadowing his accomplishments.”
Apparently it came to a head when he was late for a memorial service honoring the victims of the 2001 crash of American Airlines Flight 587, in which 265 people died. But he’s also missed the start times for so many other meetings and events that people have gotten into the habit of starting meetings without him.
Remember that being late communicates a leader doesn’t value other people’s time, thinks his schedule is far more important than anyone else, and doesn’t have his act together. All it all, it says you don’t care, and your concerns are all that matter. Essentially, you’re telling people it’s all about you.
As a result, it’s not just his political enemies that are upset, but his friends as well – and even his own team. Can DeBlasio change the chronically late habit? It’s too early to say, but wherever you are on the career ladder, take note:
Being chronically late isn’t just an inconvenience to friends, co-workers, customers, and clients. It can be terminal for your reputation and career.