What is the best way to deal with a sr manager head of a department who is always late to my meetings? Should I start the meeting without him?
It depends on the number of other people who attend. If there are a significant number of people, start the meeting on time because that is typically the best use of the totality of everyone's time. When the head arrives, catch him/her up, then proceed. You can clear up some meeting overhead / residual chit-chat.
Secondarily, it helps to try to understand why the head is late. If he/she has another meeting abutting yours, consider starting yours ten minutes later.
As others have said, just start the meeting on time. If your boss is not there, it's his problem, not yours. But I would also advice caution if you know your boss is hard to deal with. One time should probably still be fine, but if he expresses that he doesn't like that, don't do it again. I've personally had a boss that was quite tough to deal with and I knew if I started a meeting without him, he would probably be pissed. But considering you're asking this question, I doubt you're in that situation.
Also, if you're discussing a topic where it's important your boss knows about it, obviously you should wait with discussing that topic until he is there (if there are other topics, just start with those).
TLDR: It depends, but mostly, yes start.
Having said that, most answer already have part of the right absolutely right, but
- If your boss is a key person on whose answers a large part of the meeting depends then focus on why he is late. Back to back meetings? Reschedule so that there is at least 10 min overlap and send a reminder 2 minutes after it has started. (e.g. a ping in Lync, or invite to meeting if in ms teams etc. I have several people at work for whom repeated reminded are needed and most of them adjust after a few sessions.)
Assuming that this is not the case:
For meetings with three people in it I a usually willing to wait 5 minutes. After that I start. This overlaps with point #1 in that most people tend to be important in call with a few people. Despite that I will start within 5 minutes.
For meetings with a dozen or more people in it start on time. For me that means at the meeting time, or at most within a minute of the appointed start time.
If you do not then ytou are both disrespecting the other who where on time and wasting all of their time.
Lastly, if you are not the organiser then just open the call, wait 5 minutes and then leave. If needed the organised can reschedule, but these days it is busy enough that wasting time idling in meetings is an unaffordable waste.
Key poiunt I want to stress (again):
- Key people
- How many participants