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When leaders aren’t consistent with one another, it can have a negative impact on team morale, the company’s performance and on fellow leaders. The most frequent areas of inconsistency are the enforcement of company rules, policies and procedures and the way the leaders interact with their teams.
Some supervisors tend to come across as heavy-handed while others are too easy going and accommodating. Neither extreme is desirable. What we want is for leaders to be firm, fair and consistent.
As a leadership team, get together and discuss the inconsistencies in the application of work rules, policies, and procedures. Determine where it makes sense to allow some discretion and latitude and where it ends up causing problems. Recently, a group of supervisors discussed how it is nice to reward a hardworking employee by allowing him to clean up a few minutes before the end of the shift but then inevitably other team members who aren’t as hard-working tend to also finish a few minutes early and claim that it is unfair that some people get to finish early while others don’t. Instead of special work favors, it is better for the leader to offer deserved praise while being consistent with work stop times.
Remember that consequences can be either positive or corrective. Leaders should acknowledge and offer positive feedback when a team member is meeting or exceeding expectations. When the team member isn’t meeting expectations regarding job performance or behaviors, the leader needs to comment on those actions and correct them. Depending on the severity and frequency of the performance or behavior problem, the leader will need to escalate the consequences accordingly. When a leader looks the other way or fails to apply corrective consequences, team members will lose respect for that leader and resent the fact that their fellow team members ‘get away with it’.
Inevitably there will be situations where an inconsistency will be noticed. The leadership team should talk openly about it and decide on how to send a common message going forward. Leaders who continue to deviate from the agreed set of standards may need additional coaching and correction from their manager. Ultimately, supervisors who are unable or unwilling to maintain a set of standards will need to be replaced.
How do you keep policies and procedures consistent in your workplace?
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