I get it. While companies need to have rules, leaders should question them.
Vishen Lakhiani (founder of Mindvalley, author of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind) coined the term rules. It is an acronym for limiting rules.
They are often rules that someone has created in the past but do not apply to the present situation.
I understand what you are thinking. It is essential to provide structure for employees and be able to maintain standards. Working with many companies, I found that establishing new rules is seen by most as an attempt to control the situation. This can be a dangerous, narrow-sighted, and morally damaging way of addressing a small problem. Most of the time, the employee’s pain must be dealt with by their manager individually, quickly, and efficiently.
It’s not worth having an entire workforce leave because one manager isn’t able to handle conflict, doesn’t know how to manage performance, or has a difficult conversation. This makes the system stupid. Instead, I recommend that leaders receive coaching and tools to help them address these issues quickly and efficiently.
What kinds of Brules am I referring to? There are many, but these are the three most common I see.
1. Limiting internet use.
The internet age is here. People should have the ability to access their online lives even during breaks. It is not only demoralizing and treating people like children to limit internet access, but it also affects their ability to perform their jobs. It’s not common to go to a library for research these days. We all do it online, so it’s not surprising. It’s perfectly legal to check the LinkedIn profile or Facebook page of someone you have just interviewed. Trust is the foundation of a culture that allows internet access.
2. Shutting down uniqueness and self-expression
Many companies have strict rules about what employees can wear and what they can bring to work. Yes, I did a job at one of these places, and it nearly killed me. No feather boas or tiaras allowed!
A semi-naked sexy calendar? Worksite in stilettos and strappy shoes? They’re not allowed on a worksite in strappy stilettos. Employers who limit the number of personal photos that can be displayed, as well as whether they can have a water bottle, a plant, or express their children’s drawings at work, are just absurd. These are humans, not AI robots. It all comes down to culture. Leaders must be able to deal with issues effectively and confidentially, and employees should be treated like adults. It’s that simple.
3. Crazy hoop-jumping to get you there, out, and back.
Your people should be paid for their work and the results they create. It seems that many workplaces still believe they are paying people for how many hours they spend shackled at their desks. I thought slavery had been abolished. Employers don’t like it when companies require documentation for medical and bereavement leave. This can lead to a loss of trust and a wrong impression. While there have been cases where employees faked sick days to get a day off, it does not reflect well on your hiring process and engagement. This is not the culture you want. People will ask for days off in a culture of trust and transparency. Some workplaces even allow employees to take mental health days.
What’s the take-away?
Examine your policies and rules. Are there any that are too brule-like? Are there any rules or policies that are not necessary or demoralizing? You might be able to retain the best employees and increase productivity and a positive attitude at work.
What policies or Brules are driving you crazy? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.