As a manager, it can be frustrating when a team member misses an important deadline. And while there are certainly some who tend to procrastinate, you’ll find that most people try their hardest to turn their deliverables in on time.

So, if they seem to be missing deadlines left and right despite their best efforts, the problem may not lie with the employee. Instead, you may need to take a better look at how you structure their tasks and deadlines.

Read on to learn a few common reasons that cause employees to miss deadlines and what you can do to address them.

Your Schedule Is Disorganised

Meeting a single deadline is hard enough. Trying to juggle multiple deadlines can be incredibly challenging. With so many details to keep an eye on, you’re likely to forget something important if you try to commit everything to memory.

Indeed, disorganisation is one reason why so many employees have difficulty completing their work on time. Without a clear system for tracking tasks and due dates, there’s no way for your team members to know the status of each deliverable. Disorganisation could cause employees to accidentally work on the same task, wasting time and resources. Worse, the task may end up untouched if nobody knows it exists at all.

Thus, it’s important to collate all the details in a central system. A popular way to do this is to sign up for a project planning platform. These applications can help you organise the information in a way that’s easy to digest. It also allows you to assign tasks to specific team members, set reminders for due dates, and track the project’s overall progress.

But remember: the project planning application is just a tool. If you don’t know the basics of project planning, then even the most sophisticated tool in the world won’t solve your problems. That’s why it’s also a good idea to learn project planning skills so you can make the most out of the resources you have on hand.


Your Deadlines Are Unclear

Most employees are more than willing to stay late to help meet a tight deadline. But there’s no way they can finish the work on time if they don’t have a clue when it’s actually due.

So, it’s not enough to simply tell your team that something’s due within a week or that they have until the end of March to finish a project. For them to deliver efficiently, they need a clearly defined deadline. If they know exactly how long they have to work on something, they’ll be able to allot their time accordingly.

However, having a single end date for the whole project also won’t be enough. There should also be a detailed timeline that indicates whether everyone is on track. Otherwise, your employees might take too long on a single task, only to run out of time for the last stages of a project.

One way to do this is to break up bigger goals into more manageable and achievable milestones. Because smaller tasks are less intimidating for employees to take on, they’re more likely to finish everything on time. Just make sure to diligently track the status of each task and to follow up with your team members if everything is going smoothly. It’s best to address issues early on rather than worry about them when the deadline is looming near.

Your Employees Don’t Feel Any Pressure

Striking a balance between productivity and wellness can be difficult, but not impossible. You wouldn’t want your employees to overwork themselves, but you also don’t want them to grow complacent and unproductive. But if you’ve noticed that your team doesn’t seem to care about hitting your deadlines anymore, then they may not feel like there are any real consequences to their actions.

When this happens, it may be time to set some clearer expectations to make your team feel more accountable. Then, do whatever you can to help your team achieve these deadlines. Make sure to check on them every once in a while, to ask them how they’re doing. If they need help, provide them with coaching as necessary.

Make it clear that if they still fail to meet their deadlines despite offering support as needed, then they will have to face some serious consequences. This may mean docking some points from their evaluation or taking disciplinary action against them.

However, don’t forget about the people on your team who always deliver good work. Make sure to set positive rewards for those who perform exceptionally well, especially those who go above and beyond.


These are just some of the many reasons why your team members could be missing their deadlines so often. Fortunately, many of these problems can be resolved if you take the initiative to solve the issue.