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13 Jul 2015

Who Are the Always Late Personality Types?

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Real-time Personality Assessment

Who are the always late personality types? Research tends to focus on four types.

Who are the always late personality types? Control freaks are not one of the main ones. Who then?

Lateness to meetings costs money. This adds to the waste for which most meetings are known. Lateness has many reasons. They include personality. Who are the always late personality types though?

Knowing these types helps us assess personalities. Knowing personalities helps us be more effective. It helps us build and run better teams.

Researching Late Personality Types

When looking at the always been late personality types, we need to keep it in context. That context includes all the other reasons. That nets down to just under 20% of people being late a lot.

For example, the younger a child is at home, the more likely an employee will be late to work. Other reasons include health, physical and mental. Substance abuse could be a factor too. Low job satisfaction and lack of commitment could be there too.

Always Late Personality Types

When it comes to the always late personality types, experts have many ways to describe them. Diana DeLonzor, who was a management consultant, coined seven late personality types. Comparing her list with other research, here is a summary of key personalities who tend to be late:

  • Thrill seekers. The most common type, they like the last minute rush. They work best under pressure, no pressure no work. At heart they are procrastinators.
  • Optimists and multi-taskers. They overestimate what they can do. They will try to fit in that last task. That task causes lateness.
  • B-type personalities. They have poor sense of time. Guessing when a minute has passed is a simple test. Within five seconds suggests one is likely to be on time. Closer to fifteen seconds suggests likely to be late.
  • Excusers. They often blame other factors in their work. Lateness is not their fault. A top excuse is having to wait for others. It is a waste of time to be prompt.

Using Personality Types

The main mistake people make is applying generalizations such as these as hard rules. Just because a person is always late does not right away make him one of these types.

We combine this observation with others of a different type. These give a trend by which to assess personalities well. In turn, we will be more effective with our teams.

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5 Responses

  1. The usual people arriving late know they are guilty… They will thus seek to solve the problem or are totally not phased by their actions. If it’s as would be the case for me, they don’t seek change, either don’t invite them (see the meeting summary…) or fire them!!!

    1. Mike Lehr

      Thank you, John, for visiting and leaving your insights. I am just blending social research with my experience.

      From what I read though, you are definitely right about that reason. It is there. The research in the post and others indicate it. The difference though is that they tend to not show it as being one of the top ones.

      Thank you again. Enjoy your week, John.

  2. Peter 2M

    Hi Mike! I am guilty of being a regular late person. I think I am a combination of a few of the above types.

    People who know me have suggested it’s because I am very methodical and just cannot skip through the present task. I have to complete it first.

    I certainly get engrossed so deeply in said task that time just vanishes. I genuinely get caught out.

    If it helps, I’m an ‘ENFJ’. The ‘J’ is extreme and I believe this is where my being much methodical might come from. Obsessive, to be honest.

    Hope this helps?

    1. Mike Lehr


      After pondering this a bit, it’s not unusual for people to get distracted, especially if it’s something they enjoy. For example, my wife loves to cook. She is very good at it, even teaches in six different cooking schools. Yet, I chuckle because it is not unusual for her to “burn water” (when the water completely boils off and it begins to heat the pot). Often, it’s because someone calls, and she enjoys talking to her. I, too, run into problems especially when I write.

      The simplest answer is to set an alarm, a reminder. I do this for important occasions. I don’t need to most times. I’m different from you in that regard. I’m not a regularly late person. Long ago, I had co-workers ready to call the police because they thought something happened to me. I could not understand the fuss when I walked in. I was only 7 minutes late. They said, “But you’re never late.”

      If you wish to address this in another way, then my suggestion on Twitter might be apropos here. Your inner introvert might be jealous of the time you spend with others. The “E” only means that you are more extroverted than introverted. It does not mean you are an extrovert without an introverted aspect. You’re right though, the “J” could be a cause. It usually correlates to conscientiousness of the Big 5 Personality Traits. Still, there is always a balancing at work.

      I would ask these questions:
      1. How time to spend with others vs yourself?
      2. How much do you enjoy spending time with yourself?
      3. Do all tasks cause this or only certain ones?
      4. How important are the meetings for which you are late?

      The fact that you’re late like this does suggest something else is going on. Generally, at some point, one’s subconscious will remind him of running late, especially if it’s important.

      Again, the best short-term, immediate answer is set a reminder for all your meetings.

      Thank you for visiting, Peter.

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