Employee policies are for cowards

When organizations try to solve personnel behavior problems with new policies rather than with direct confrontation with the difficult employee it poisons the work environment.

Roger Parrott writing at the Call & Response blog:

Ministries often create complex and cumbersome personnel policies to handle the small number of difficult employees who challenge, stretch, or cheat the system. These policies don’t even protect us from confrontation, because the very people we seek to avoid are often the ones who will not change without direct correction.

[R]ather than address a sticky personnel issue head on, we tend to create policies that will “hold us all accountable” without specifically judging the actions of another. But that option is neither theologically sound nor appropriate when it comes to leadership. We must judge at times. We can’t create one-size-fits-all absolutes to guide us.

Nearly every policy is created in reaction to a very specific problem. Seeking to prevent a reoccurrence of the same difficulty from the same person must not be the only measure of a policy’s worth. Before the policy is implemented, also think specifically of the 96% of your team who don’t need correction. Go through some of them by name. If it stands up as appropriate for them, and not just the person who triggered the problem, then it may be a valuable policy.

Read it all. Another perspective on the same issue: reacting to specific problems with a new policy trains employees to be compliance oriented.

According to a recent ranking of the top 100 religious blogs, Call & Response is a “blog from Duke Divinity School includes short essays by scholars largely from a liberal Christian perspective, as well as a daily digest of “News & Ideas.”” It is a product of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity school.

See also: It’s Lent. Time for performance reviews.

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