One of my employees is terrible with deadlines – what can I do?

One of my employees is terrible with deadlines – what can I do?

Dear Aunty B,

I have an employee who won’t take responsibility for meeting his deadlines. Whenever I delegate him a task, I stress the importance of getting the work in on time – and yet he is consistently late with most tasks.

When I raise this with him, he always comes up with a handful of excuses. The thing is, he’s really good at his job and gets along with all of his co-workers. His only flaw is his time management.

What can I do?




Dear MC,

It sounds like you’re in a dilemma because you and your team genuinely like your hire, which can make it hard to play tough.

You are clearly raising the problem with him, which is the right thing to do, but he’s well prepared with excuses and I’m guessing turns on the charm offensive.

He may be “good at his job” but meeting deadlines is a vital part of efficiency, and that means he’s not performing his job to the level he should be.

Therefore, it’s time to get serious – you need to get a formal meeting in place to get to the core of the deadline problems. Sometimes it is disorganisation, overload of tasks or perhaps he’s too social. You can solve these elements with more training, sitting him in a different area or assessing the reality of his workload and adjusting it.

However, some other trickier reasons could be at play. Perfectionism could mean he spends too long on things before letting go, or a lack of confidence in his work could cause this too.

There could also be pressure from outside sources that are influencing his ability to get things done on time. Find out and assess if he could do with some extra training or even counselling.

He sounds worth investing in – make the effort, get his immediate team on board with the issue – and you may just get the results you need.

Be smart,

Aunty B


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.