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What Are You Tolerating?

I’ve written articles about being scheduled to death, and living in meeting hell but another question that comes to mind and often, is, “What are you tolerating…and why?” I can’t tell you how many leaders I observe who put up with staff consistently coming late to meetings, their one-on-ones and committees while the rest of the group sits there wasting time waiting for that individual to show up. Whenever a client allows this to happen and accepts it by pushing his schedule back the ten or fifteen minutes when his employee is late, then it’s saying many things.

I’ve written articles about being scheduled to death, and living in meeting hell but another question that comes to mind and often, is, “What are you tolerating…and why?” I can’t tell you how many leaders I observe who put up with staff consistently coming late to meetings, their one-on-ones and committees while the rest of the group sits there wasting time waiting for that individual to show up. Whenever a client allows this to happen and accepts it by pushing his schedule back the ten or fifteen minutes when his employee is late, then it’s saying many things. First it’s saying the individual who obviously has little respect for his boss’s role, schedule and volume of work is also saying by his actions that his work or schedule is more important.

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By accepting it and then putting everything and everyone else off those same fifteen minutes it’s telling the rest of your staff, this individual is more important than you are because I’m letting him get away with it. It’s also telling the rest of the staff that you don’t respect yourself because you’re not doing anything about it. You’re tolerating it. Why in the world are you doing that?

A few years ago I worked with a president of an organization who wouldn’t put up with anyone being late for any of his meetings. If the meeting was called for 9:00 then you’d better be in there because if you weren’t the door would be closed. His meetings always started and ended on time. You’d have to walk into a meeting that was already on its way to the glaring stare of the President. Oh he wouldn’t say anything but you’d better believe it would have had to be a major car accident or family crisis to make you late ever again. He wouldn’t tolerate behaviour that was disrespectful and a time waster and walking in consistently late and not respecting time is saying you don’t respect your colleagues, staff, peers or leadership.

If the boss lets it happen then the boss deserves the consequences. When I hear how he’s lost control of his day, my first response is “You haven’t lost control. You’ve relinquished it. Those are two very different things!

If you look at your day and see all the tolerations you put up with, no wonder you leave stressed, feeling overloaded with work and out of control. And if you no longer tolerate this one behavior, what is the ripple effect? Just think of what would happen if you stopped tolerating some other basic inappropriate ways of being. Boggles the mind don’t you think?

What are you currently tolerating, what is it doing to your life and what would your life look like if you stopped tolerating it?

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Donna Karlin • Executive and Political Shadow Coach™ • Ottawa, Canada • donnakarlin@abetterperspective.comwww.abetterperspective.com

About the author

Donna Karlin CEC, Diplomate IABMCP and founder and principal of A Better Perspective® & The School of Shadow Coaching, has pioneered the specialized practice of Shadow Coaching® with global political, government, business and senior organizational leaders in the public and private sectors. Donna capitalizes on almost 30 years of experience in coaching, consulting and training to help clients and their organizations evolve into their level of excellence.

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