Rule-breaking and team building

When is it okay to break the rules that a team has agreed to abide by?

Some rules can be broken.Rule-breaking is not something to be taken lightly. A cavalier approach to rules sends a message to the team that they are not important. Inconsistent enforcement sends signals of favoritism, arbitrariness and capriciousness that will degrade morale.

But a spare-no-expense adherence to rules for its own sake is also unhealthy. Excessive rigidity can also degrade morale. Staff begin to feel they are being treated like automatons, not trusted to think for themeselves.

The solution?

Plan for exceptions up front. Have an agreed-upon, transparent process and a clear set of criteria in place whereby exceptions to the rules can be made by trusted staff.

That sort of rule-breaking builds teams by building trust, boosting morale and empowering staff.

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