Managers, at all levels, must learn to respect the time of others 5


I was recently working at a company and was advised some of the delegates at the training course I was conducting could not attend as they had been called into a meeting by the General manager.

I asked – when they were notified – the response yesterday

I asked when my training had been scheduled – they responded three weeks ago

I asked why the GM had not been advised they had a prior training engagement? The response was – “we cant do that , well be fired”

What a load of hogwash. Who does the GM think he or she is that people must drop what they have planned to facilitate his or her failure to plan. what gives him or her the right to expect others to be at his beck and call?

Do managers suddenly think they are gods with a right to call meeting at short notice and have everyone “cow tow” to them?

Another example – at another company a meeting was called so some appointments I had with staff members were cancelled in order to facilitate this off the cuff demand to attend. Once again I was annoyed because there was no respect shown for my time?

Guess what? The morning of the meeting it was cancelled because something else cropped up that the senior manager had to attend to. So he just cancelled his urgent staff meeting.

There are two issues here, bad time management and bad planning on the part of senior managers. In addition this shows a total lack of standards and a total disregard for the time and productivity of others. Where does leadership by example come in and where are the issue of time management and diaries gone?

Managers at whatever level must realise they need to be in control and pre plan activities that require meetings. They cannot and must not expect (except in absolute emergencies) employees to drop everything at their beck and call.

Subordinates must also learn to say – I’m sorry I have a prior engagement – nothing can happen for doing so irrespective of what you may think.

When you have an appointment with a person and phone them at short notice to cancel you show a total lack of professionalism and a total disrespect for that person. Emergencies are something else – this is not what I am referring to. I’m talking about the notice you get to say your GM wants you in a meeting tomorrow when you already have a meeting with someone else.

Managers, even the CEO, must learn to manage their time and respect the time of others.

Des Squire (Managing member) AMSI and ASSOCIATES cc des@amsiandassociates.co.za

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5 thoughts on “Managers, at all levels, must learn to respect the time of others

  • sylvia hammond

    Hi Des, thanks for that – if we observe the conversations that take place on skills-universe it seems that this sort of thing is very prevalent.  Maybe we should try to develop some templates of standards for independent consultants.  They are the ones who seem most vulnerable to exploitation.

  • Des Squire Post author

    Hi Sylvia

    I now quote my clients as follows

    Cancellations received within a period of 14 days are subject to a 25% cancellation

    Cancellations received within a period of 7 days are subject to a 50% cancellation fee

    Cancellations received at any shorter notice are subject to full payment as set out

    If delegates fail to turn up I charge in full irrespective of numbrs based on what I quoted.

  • Des Squire Post author
    Hi Ulita
    I just refuse to let it happen. During training the facilitator is in essence the manager for the day. Delegates are your responsibility during training. Set your standards at the outset and let people know you are in charge.
    If someone walks into my training room I ask them what their business is. No one, not even the CEO can barge into a training session I am conducting.  
  • Tass Schwab

    Love this, at a Learning and Development Community of practice breakfast session this morning this very topic was raised. Prof Johannes Cronje of CPUT said what happens is that the people that have their performance assessments at the end of the year then get hauled over the coals for not attending training and the GM’s get off scot free when this should be on their performance scorecard… It’s the same for overloading employees that cannot meet all the demands and get negative feedback as well…  I sometimes get the feeling that many managers are there because of years of service and not the skills required for leadership.

  • sylvia hammond

    Viva Des! I couldn’t agree more.  I had an experience with a parastatal.  I was asked to prepare a training workshop of 2 days.  The first day key management weren’t there.  The training started a few hours late after numerous cell phone calls and arrival.  Following the training, a meeting was set up.  I arrived before time and everyone was in another meeting!  No apology, nothing.  The secretary set up a second meeting.  This time I phoned first before travelling for nearly an hour.  Once again, something else had cropped up and if I remember correctly the senior manager was even there.  A third time – ditto.  Guess what – I don’t work for that parastatal anymore.  Complete chaos and lack of respect.  And you wonder why the trains don’t run on time!