Rules and Rulers

Being in charge is like being in congress. When you don’t like something, you just make a rule against it. Rules halt stupidity and suddenly all is well with the world.

When employees do something I don’t like, I use my power to make a new rule. It will likely prevent the specific actions that annoy me or deal with the symptom of the issue — whichever yields the best result right now.

Leaders are rulers, and rulers make rules to rule over the unruly underlings. And all underlings are unruly.

Leaders make rules for their followers to obey — for their own good, of course. My underlings are sheeply creatures that would hurt themselves if they did not have a tall, thick wall of rules, regulations, and company policy to keep them safe from themselves.

And you know the the best part about all of this? Rules don’t apply to the ruler!

Rules serve as a phenomenal strategy for confrontation avoidance. You get to shield yourself with the employee handbook, or phrases that begin with “company policy.”

My fellow leaders-in-training, go through this week looking for a problem. Then create a rule to solve it immediately.

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand…
It is wise to establish boundaries and lay the foundation of what you expect from your team members. That said, too many rules will drain and exhaust those who are naturally driven to succeed. Without intending to, leaders can create rules that hinder creativity, success, and profit — all in an effort to prevent and fix problems.

Lay the initial groundwork of rules, but leave miles of freedom for your team members to creatively solve problems so they have a vested interest in the success of your company.

Think of a rule that has held you back. Have you ever (unintentionally) created or enforced rules that may be stifling your company’s growth?