Do you manage by regulation?
To what extent should your management decisions be governed by rules and regulations?
Recruiters look for managers who know when to apply the rules and when to be a little more creative in their decision making.
They want people who can use a combination of people skills, intellectual thinking and common sense.
The problem with common sense, as we have observed before is that it is not common enough.
People who have these skills can usually make a good judgement call about when to follow rules and regulations and when the addition of some common sense and interpretation is more appropriate.
Why do we have so many rules and regulations?
In many countries there are onerous compliance rules, health and safety initiatives. Legal requirements and government targets to be met that executive management have set up regulatory frameworks, and processes to protect themselves and the company. These have the unfortunate side effect of creating “robotic” management who take the line of least resistance, comply with the rules with no regard for whether or not this is the best thing for the client.
They follow the rules rather than making decisions based on common sense .Every decision is based on the need to meet targets, take a defensive, risk averse stance and managers are reluctant to use their initiative.
This tends to be the case with newer younger managers, who will not step out of line. It is left to older, more experienced managers to issue a challenge and find ways of achieving results and solving problems.
But the problem is that while this behaviour proiteects the company from becoming embroiled in legal actions, it does not normally produce the best service for the client or the best financial performance for the organisation.
Performance management can exacerbate the problem as people are regularly assessed on targets. But the performance meeting offers a great opportunity to discuss scenarios with your manager and ask for advice about how you could have handled differently a decision you felt forced to make, but would have preferred to make a different, more sympathetic decision, that would perhaps have fallen outside the rules.
If this is the way your company operates, perhaps there needs to be a cultural change to allow people to think, and make their own decisions and mistakes.
Try to lighten the rulebook and let people use their initiative and make better decisions. Make sure there is not a blame culture if things do go wrong. It is also important to have an open line to management with suggestions for improvements. And a culture that recognises and congratulates those who manage the balancing act of making the best decision, balancing the rules with common sense.