What to Say When

You are picking on me! 

Each time I try to address lateness (or anything else) with my employee, their response is: ”But others do it too.” 

Your response: “We are meeting to discuss your lateness, not others. If there is an issue with someone else I will be discussing that with them.” Then return to discussing their lateness with specific examples of the behaviour. 

This is often combined with: “You are picking on me”, (and then if you are having a really bad day: “you are bullying me / harassing me / causing me stress”!)

The key is to not be distracted by this diversion tactic. Keep on topic, and try not to get into the “no I don’t”, “yes you do” exchange. 

Respond with: “I’m sorry you feel that way, and we can address your concerns in another meeting if you wish. However, at this time, I need to address that you were 10 minutes late this morning.” Your response follows the pattern of acknowledging feelings without admitting the accusation, and bringing them back on topic by restating the issue with a specific example/s. 

Do check with yourself that you are not actually picking on that person. Make sure that if others behave in the same way the consequences are consistent for all. Then follow up with them at a different time about their concerns that you are picking on them. Most people don’t expect that and when you ask for specifics that demonstrate that you are picking on them, they are unable to provide them.


Lateness Excuses 

I’m late because the car broke down / I overslept / the phone battery died and the alarm didn’t go off / my cat was sick / the traffic was bad / there was an alligator at my front door (that excuse was apparently real in the US)! You have probably heard them all, and mostly from the same employee. The explanations individually seem legitimate but this person is always late, and always has a new excuse!

Constant lateness, irrespective of the reason, is not something you have to accept. For the habitual offender the response is: 

“Irrespective of your explanation, you have an obligation to be at work on time. It is your responsibility to ensure that happens.” 

The key here is to not take on the responsibility yourself. When they say “so what would you do in my situation?”, turn it back around to them and say “you will need to resolve this for yourself and come up with your own solutions. My only requirement is you arrive at work on time.”

If you have any particular scenarios you would like covered, please email them to us and we will include them in the next news feed. katrina@chapmaner.co.nz