This is our second installment of an introduction to the 7 Forms of Respect (FoR)®, a tool that provides a vocabulary to describe what matters most to you and others.
In this post we will be going in-depth on “Punctuality” as a form of respect. The others include: procedure, information, candor, consideration, acknowledgement and attention. Punctuality as a form of respect is about adherence to deadlines, being on time, staying on schedule, and generally being mindful of time.
How Punctuality shows up in everyday life
Imagine you’re a mid-level manager and you’re in a one-on-one meeting with executive A at your company. You finished talking about business and now he’s telling you about his views on life (he’s talkative). You have a meeting scheduled with Executive B at 4 pm, and now it’s 3:59 and Executive A is still passionately telling you about his worldviews. Do you interrupt him and let him know you have another meeting with Executive B? Or do you continue to carefully listen to him until he completes his thoughts?
If you chose to interrupt Executive A so you can start your next meeting on time, you are giving respect to Executive B in the form of punctuality and to Executive A by letting him
know you won’t take up more of his time than originally scheduled.
If you chose to continue to listen to Executive A without interrupting him, you chose to give him respect in the form of attention because you stayed focused on the conversation.
And how would your answer change if the Executive A was actually your peer or someone who had less power than you?
Or if Executive B was your peer or someone who had less power than you?
This demonstrates how forms of respect are subtle and present in everyday life.
Punctuality can look like:
- Being on time to meetings
- Adhering to a schedule
- Meeting deadlines
- Letting others know beforehand when you’ll be late
Lack of Punctuality as a form of respect looks like:
- Being late to meetings
- Not adhering to a schedule
- Missing deadlines
- Not telling people ahead of time you’ll be late
How Punctuality can be interpreted differently
There are many different personal and professional reasons why someone would care about giving and/or getting Punctuality as a form of respect. Understanding your forms of respect starts with asking yourself: why does this matter to me? Many people in our research talked about their families and childhood. Others focused on the demands of their current job function and meeting expectations.
FoR provides a shared language to describe what you need. You’ll be able to use this language to navigate conflict and address misunderstanding. This can come up when you want a particular FoR of respect and you aren’t getting it. You can then share why the FoR matters to you.
Cedric is a first-year reporter at a city newspaper. Although his drafts are excellent, he is constantly missing his deadlines, which upsets Thu, his editor. Thu tells Cedric, “I don’t understand why you keep submitting your drafts late. Punctuality is critical to journalism.” After some reflection, Cedric realized he was afraid of turning in essays less than perfect, which made the tight timelines difficult to meet. For Thu, she just expected drafts, not perfection. Hetold her he feared she would question his competency if he didn’t submit the best quality. Throughout his life, this caused him to be late because he prioritized quality over timeliness. Once he told Thu, she reassured him that she knew he was talented.
Rachel has a new boss who transferred from one of the company’s international offices. In their first month of working together, he has never been on time to a meeting, and has cancelled six meetings after the meetings were supposed to start. Finally, she told him, “You are often late or reschedule our meetings. Punctuality is an important form of respect to me. I understand you’re busy and many times, you won’t be on time. I was raised to see punctuality as a way to value other people’s time. So your tardiness makes me feel like you don’t value mine.” Chris was surprised. “I didn’t realize you felt disrespected. In my culture, we see time as flexible. At my office back home, we never really followed the scheduled time. I’ll be more mindful. I realize other people in this office might feel the same way as you and haven’t said anything to me about it.”
Because Rachel expressed her frustration, she learned Chris was not being disrespectful on purpose and that in fact he was doing it to other people in the office too. Chris was able to prioritize punctuality as a form of respect for all his co-workers in this office.
Our preference for certain Forms of Respect are rooted in our past experiences. Explaining those experiences builds empathy with others. Whenever you work with someone who doesn’t share your same forms of respect, you can use FoR to talk about it. Ask them about their past experiences, who influenced them, and why adhering to the rules is personally important.
Punctuality is a form of respect focused on meeting time constraints. If you don’t care about Punctuality as a form of respect, it doesn’t mean you’re disrespectful. It just means you don’t place as much value or emphasis on meeting time constraints.
Check out Dr. Julie Pham’s book, 7 Forms of Respect: A Guide to Transforming Your Communication and Relationships at Work.
To learn more, you can sign up for a workshop and get access to our full 7 Forms of Respect Assessment. CuriosityBased is also available to consult with your company or team about applying the 7 Forms of Respect to improve communication, collaboration, and trust.
Is Punctuality a form of respect for you?
Take the free quiz here.