From Joe Moore
I live about 70 kilometres from Sydney in the mountains (hills really). I use the train to get to the city. I used to sit in the quiet carriages where noisy conversations, loud mobile phone conversations and chortling at the videos on your smartphone are discouraged.
Used to. I’m convinced that quiet carriages on trains attract those who enjoy reminding others of the rules. Generally by expressing annoyance, a frown, tsk, shake the head. Part of the deal seems to make more noise than the micro decibels you are complaining about as you do battle with the unquiet.
Following the rules at work and outside work is a civil thing to do. Rules, policies, procedures, protocols, guidelines – expectations all. It is easier to work with colleagues who meet our expectations about behaviour and performance. It can be a nightmare working with those who disregard the rules – creating more work for the rest of us.
Another nightmare may be created though when we work with those who only follow the rules. Some of the behaviours these colleagues may display include chastising those who sometimes deviate slightly from the rules, who are quick to cry “it’s not in my job description”. Those for whom there are no exceptions, no discretion – “the policy says we don’t…”.
Following the rules at work is not straightforward. For a start there are big rules (violate these at some risk) and little rules – most of us would not even know about them. For example many multi-facility organisations have rules about signs you may post in elevators, rules about how paintings are to be hung, the way to spell program. “Little” rules surely.
Most of us seem to be able to negotiate our way around the rules – observing the “big” ones, using discretion with “little” ones, breaking the letter of the rule sometimes – better to observe the spirit of the rule.
“It’s against the rules!”
Forgotten you have a mind of your own? Tsk.
About Joe: Joe Moore is the founder and principal of Kimber Moore & Associates. Joe and his team are highly skilled in helping leaders, managers and staff deal with uncertainty, change, complexity and conflicts before they escalate into situations that are more volatile. You can read more of Joe’s posts and contact him here
I always think rules that are plastered on an A4 piece of paper on the back of the toilet cubicles are the most amusing. I used to work with a woman who would ritualistically tear them down just for fun. The self professed toilet cubicle poster people would get very flustered!
Good one Sara – though I find the tsk tsk TSK Police are most active in the lunchroom.