Is Showing up Late to a Meeting a Sign of Power?

Blog reader Devan from Kuching, Malaysia asks:

A new executive in my company habitually arrives late to meetings and appointments, even if he can be on time. Could he be trying to show off his power?

Devan, I am not sure. It is never easy to form an opinion based on a few observations.

It is true that power can corrupt: a few ‘powerful’ people tend to grow more oblivious to what other people think when they gain more power. Others think more positively about power and grow more generous as they gain more responsibilities.

The desire to feel important drives some to have other people wait for them before starting meetings or, worse, to restart the meeting upon arriving late. This is irrational behavior.

Is showing up early to a meeting a sign of weakness?

Another prevalent belief is that showing up earlier is a sign of vulnerability and that showing up later gives an ‘control’ in the proceedings of the meeting. Or that, showing up earlier is a sign of being too organized or overly anxious about the outcome of the meeting.

In reality, being punctual and organized in keeping appointments is a sign of respect for the value of others’ time and a critical component of professional behavior.


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