The First Rule of Business: Be Respectful of Everyone’s Time

As a leader, everything you say and do becomes part of your company culture, whether you want it to or not. Every time that you show up late to a meeting, or miss a deadline, your team is watching and taking notes. But on the flip side, every time you make a deliberate effort to act a certain way in the face of stress or turmoil your team will also pick up those behaviors and act accordingly when faced with similar challenges. So you are in a very important place in the company culture. And today, I want to discuss three places where your behavior makes a huge difference in your company culture.


As a business owner, your calendar is usually the first one to fill up. You are in demand and may find yourself jumping from meetings throughout the day with little time in between. And for many, this is a perfect excuse to be “fashionably late.” But your behavior when it comes to meetings plays a huge role in how others in the company approach meetings as well. So the first rule that I like to follow is to be respectful of everyone’s time. Whether you are meeting with a new vendor, your marketing manager or a new client they all took the time out of their day to meet with you at a designated time. So you should do the same respect by making sure that you are on time. Come with a set agenda, be precise and don’t be afraid to end a meeting early if everything is covered in a timely manner. Timing matters, and being respectful of everyone’s busy schedule goes a long way in company culture.


Want to ensure that your team member meets deadlines and deliverables? Make it a point to meet deadlines yourself. If your team sees that you make deadlines a top priority, they will quickly follow suit. If you say that you will have a report or a file over to a co-worker do you always follow through and get it to them in the time allotted? If not, it is a habit that you need to start working on immediately.  Now, you won’t be perfect all the time. You’re going to screw up.  It’s going to happen.  But in general, being on time all the time will help instill a level of trust in those around you. Which goes a long way when building a team.

Hard Conversations

And the last area where timing matters when it comes to company culture has to do with having hard conversations. No one wants to approach difficult subjects, but as a leader you are setting the tone for the rest of the company. If Linda in marketing is struggling with something, and you decide to put off discussing it because it’s an uncomfortable conversation, you are telling the rest of the team that their comfort level isn’t as important as yours. They will likely have to pick up the slack or pick up the pieces to cover for Linda’s errors. Instead, if you have the conversation quickly and start working towards a resolution, your team will pick up that the culture is one of mutual respect across the board. And will do the same when faced with similar issues.