Companies need to have rules — that's a given — but they don't have to be shortsighted and lazy attempts at creating order.
I understand the temptation. As my company has grown, so has our difficulty maintaining standards. There have been many instances where someone crossed a line, and we were tempted to respond with a new rule that applied to everyone.
But that's where most companies blow it.
In just about every instance, upon closer inspection, we realized that establishing a new rule would be a passive and morale-killing way to address the problem. The vast majority of the time, the problem needs to be handled one-on-one by the employee's manager.
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When companies create ridiculous and demoralizing rules to halt the outlandish behavior of a few individuals, it's a management problem. There's no sense in alienating your entire workforce because you don't know how to manage performance. It makes a bad situation that much worse.
Here are some of the worst rules that companies create when they fall into this trap.