Have we lost our sense of respect for others?

When was the last time that you felt disrespected? I am writing this blog post to address a common behaviour I have seen and experienced in recent years. This behaviour, I am driving at, is lateness. I am perplexed as to why some people think that it is ok to be late and not feel apologetic about it.

don't be late


Where has the old fashioned basic courtesy gone? I was taught from a very young age and then subsequently in my national service with a disciplined organisation that lateness is not ok. You get punished for being late. When I started working as a young adult, I make it a habit to be punctual or at least be 10 minutes early. To me, it just makes sense. You can never predict whether the transportation network that you so dependent on might fail you; thus when you give yourself ample time to get from point A to point B, you are not likely to feel stressed when you realise that your bus is late. Instead of getting anxious, you are likely to look for alternatives to get you to where you need to be. Of course, others might say that it just does not make sense to be early and then have to wait. This may be so, but I think sometimes those extra time can be useful, especially when you have arrived at the wrong location for an appointment. Being early can also help to calm your nerves, especially if you are to attend an important meeting.


Research has found that lateness is caused by timing biases which in turn affect the performance of a set task in a later time. For example, to arrive on time for work at 9:00am, you will have to look at how much time is needed for you to walk to the bus stop from your home, the waiting time, the time for the bus journey. In knowing the time required for each stage, you are able to estimate how much time you actually need overall. The timing biases occur when you underestimate or overestimate the timings. For example, you always allocate 10 minutes to walk from your home to the bus stop, however, you did not realise that this morning the road that you use every day has been blocked because of road repairs. To reach the bus stop, you will now need to make a detour that will add another 5 minutes to your walk which will have a knock-on effect on the overall journey. On the other hand, when you have overestimated the timing, knowing that a detour is still needed, you might end up arriving at the bus stop earlier. This might mean that you get to take an earlier bus that you might not have been aware of.


Therefore, not being late is a choice. It is time to take responsibility when you are late, stop giving excuses.


Published by Dr Austin Tay

I am a Chartered Organizational Psychologist fascinated by how people behave, think, process, strategies and collaborate with others at work. I am passionate about helping individuals become psychologically flexible and move towards a value-based life. I am an advocate against bullying and harassment in the workplace. I am the founder of OmniPsi Consulting, and I provide consulting services in leadership development, leadership assessment, executive coaching, career transition management, training and workplace intervention. This blog is a platform where I share my observations, thoughts and opinions.

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