I like this post from Don at Leadership Now called Rules V. Results. He shares a story of a coaching client whose performance went from great to mediocre due to an impass with management over rules.
I agree that we need to have some consistency and procedures in place……..
That said, I have seen many situations in which an overreliance on rules made management look plain dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
When we hide behind the rules, we are basically saying that we are not confident and smart enough to use jugment and we are unable to manage. We look bad.
Just for the record, I don’t necessarily think that Don’s client responded well, either.
That is the problem we face when we defer to rules in situations where common sense says another solution will be a win-win. We create an environment where smart people do dumb things. Procedures and rules are starting points, guidelines, they are not etched in stone.
I have been on the end of things where I was the rule maker (HR), but even then, I knew that judgment was more important than strict compliance. Well, with one exception… I am quite a stickler on not allowing managers to have intimate sexual relationships with their employees. I am not a prude by any means, I just have seen how this impacts the work environment. And it is grossly unprofessional.