To ensure any output will be delivered on time and with excellence, good leaders naturally check in frequently during the process to see where things stand and offer a hand if needed. Checking in is a leadership duty required to achieve great results. The key is to time the last check-in so the leader can offer help, rally resources and, if necessary, save the day.
The mirror opposite of checking in just in time occurs when leaders offer criticisms or insist on changes when it is too late to act on them. Checking in too close to the deadline suggests a leader who is not on top of the game and doesn’t understand the impact of their actions. Metaphorically, a late check-in is an equivalent of throwing a grenade into the process and then stepping aside while the team flounders and fails to respond to the new ideas in time. Good leaders avoid late criticism. They don’t show up at the 11th hour with major feedback and additions.
Strangely, the same leaders seem to be repeatedly guilty of this treason. Because they’re too busy to check in when they should, these leaders feel their position or status allows them to step in just before the whistle blows. This demotivates the team and destroys morale. The work product suffers, as well. Good leaders check-in when the project needs their scrutiny — and not a moment after.