Holding the Line on Rogue Employees

"Act decisively to ensure that those who chose not to follow our standards do not fly our aircraft." — Darker Shades of Blue, Tony Kern

I periodically get asked by my readers and various clients how to handle team members who refuse to follow the organizational standards.

Here are the five key points that the most successful leaders always do.

  • Be strongly confident in the things you do believe in. The processes and standards developed are most often hard fought, hard won, and based on lots of experience.
  • Confident people listen. So be prepared to listen, but do NOT accept generalities of complaints. Ask any individuals that are not complying about why they are not complying and for them to provide specifics. How would the changes they advocate improve quality or overall organizational speed to value?
  • Listen. Write things down. Ask clarifying questions.
  • Be a brick wall on the rules that you believe are critical to the operation of your organization. It is acceptable to say "unacceptable."
  • I also advocate having a "gate" in that brick wall. Periodically conduct an assessment of the standards. Consider requests. Conduct experiments. Make improvements that work. Thank the people for those improvements.

The quote I included this week is from the book Darker Shades of Blue which is about rogue pilots, the damage they have caused, and how to properly handle them. I know the following from talking to the author of that book. I know the following from my own experience.

If you say "unacceptable" early, mean it, and follow through by not letting them fly the plane, the rogue will get in line. They do want to fly those planes even if it means following the rules.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,
ALAN WILLETT