Some managers consistently enforce policies and procedures; some frequently make exceptions. Which is more effective?
Do You Implement Policy or Make Exceptions?
Employee A (talking to friends at coffee): I like working for Harvey. He is easy to get along with.
Employee B: Yeah, he thinks outside of the box.
Harvey (Explaining to narrator): If a team member suggests a different way of doing something, I’ll usually approve it. Sometimes I may even approve requests that are contrary to a policy. Honestly, I’m not familiar with all of our regulations. I do worry that I could cause a problem but no one has criticized me yet.
Employee C (describing her boss, Evelyn, to a friend): Evelyn is analytical. She’s very cautious.
Employee D: Yeah, anytime we suggest doing something a different way, she usually refuses.
Evelyn (Explaining to narrator): I don’t approve employee suggestions that are inconsistent with our policies and procedures. If I’m not sure whether a request is consistent, I’ll find out. I’ll support suggestions that improve our services so long as the request is in compliance. I’m aware that some employees criticize me for “going by the book” too much.
Narrator: A little more than half of the supervisors in my workshops say that they would rather work for a person like Harvey.
However, when I change the reference and ask, “If you were the president of your organization, whom would you promote to a front-line management position; more than seventy-five percent say they would select Evelyn.”
When you accept a management position, I think you agree to support the company vision, mission, core values, policies, rules and regulations. If you think a procedure hinders performance, by all means, try to get it changed; but until it is changed, enforce the procedure. If you are consistent, most employees will respond very favorably.