The Twelve Principles of Leadership: Principle Eight

During a twelve-day period of time, I will be posting daily one of the Twelve Principles of Quality Leadership followed by some questions you, as a leader, may wish to ask yourself.

Hopefully the description and inquiry will cause you to think about how you lead and what you may need to do to improve your leadership.

 And don’t forget to post some commentary. It can be a learning process for us all.

Welcome aboard!

THE TWELVE PRINCIPLES OF QUALITY LEADERSHIP

Systems, Leadership, and Teams

QUESTIONS FOR LEADERS

LEADERSHIP

Principle 8.  MANAGE ON THE BEHAVIOR OF 95% OF EMPLOYEES AND NOT ON THE 5% WHO CAUSE PROBLEMS.  DEAL WITH THE 5% PROMPTLY AND FAIRLY.

This is a fundamental principle regarding people.  It should help us to look at how we view our employees.  Do we believe that they can be trusted, are mature adults and want to do a good job  Or do we believe that they are untrustworthy, immature, and want to avoid work  This principle causes some supervisors and managers a great deal of difficulty.  They have trouble accepting the notion that they should trust their employees.  Let’s look at how many of your employees are in the first group and how many are in the second. We believe 95% of our employees fall into the first group and 5% or less fall into the second group.  For too long, the actions of the 5% have dictated the rules and policies and how the organization is run.  We believe that the actions of the 5% should not dictate how the rest of the employees are treated in the workplace. Five-percenters should be responded to in a prompt and fair way.  Rules should not be written based on the behavior of the five percent nor should the department be run as if all employees were in the five percent group.  The five percent must, however, be dealt with and not ignored.  We have all heard a great deal about the need for consistency and fairness in the disciplinary process.  Being fair is more important.

QUESTIONS

a. What rules or policies do we have that should be modified, changed, or even eliminated according to the 95/5 rule?  How could they become more positive?

b. Is there a need for a policy manual in an organization run on the 95/5 rule?  What would be the function of the policy manual in a quality organization?

c. How would you attempt to improve the performance an employee of yours who is in the five percenter?

[From The New Quality Leadership Workbook, by Couper and Lobitz. To be published this year.]