As a leader it is your duty to make sure the rules are enforced. Even though some rules may seem unimportant, you have to see the big picture. Just as there is a reason for wearing seat belts, there is a reason your company has instituted rules. Rules provide a framework for how you operate and set you and your staff up for success. In addition, enforcing the rules help your employees to view you as “fair.” The three drivers of fairness are how managers behave, how much input the employee has in decision making and how the decisions are actually implemented.

The boss employee relationship parallels the parent child relationship: consistency is the key. When employees aren’t sure of the rules or if they feel you are unfair, you set yourself up for office drama (complaining) in the form of power struggles, backstabbing, gossip and even turnover.

Here are four ways to create consistency and keep the complaints down.

Get clear on your commitment
The biggest problem for every leader is clarity. If you have drama in the office it always boils down to a lack of clarity with the leader. When you are certain of the direction you are heading to, others “row in harmony.” When you are unclear, employees test your power and authority.

The solution is to get clear about your number one commitment. You have to be more committed to "navigating the ship" than you are to getting approval.

Recognize the potential consequences
Once you allow a great employee to break the rule, you open yourself up for a not so great employee to take it a step further. You won’t have a leg to stand on if you aren’t consistent. Letting some bend the rules in an effort to appease them will leave others perceiving you as unfair. This creates unnecessary drama in the office.

The solution is when you get ready to implement a rule, ask yourself if you can enforce the rule even if your favorite employee breaks the rule. If you can’t, it’s back to the drawing board. This measurement device will help you avoid assumptions and favoritism.

Give fair warning
Before you make the necessary changes, schedule a “special” meeting with your staff. You can’t expect to spring a surprise on them and have them comply. You will only get resistance if you keep coming up with new rules without letting them know the consequences and the importance of their compliance.

The solution Admit where you have gone wrong. For example, “I have been lax on the rules because I didn’t realize the impact etc.” When they see you taking full responsibility they will see you have a “no complaints, no excuses, no regrets” attitude and they will quickly follow suit.

Tell them things are changing and what you expect. Let them know the expected consequences should they fail to comply. (Will they be warned, written up, suspended etc?) Ask for their commitment to make the necessary changes.

Institute regular staff meetings
Regular staff meetings can either be a waste of time, or a huge productivity booster. The key is to create a template agenda so you have a structure that keeps you on track and on time. Add a section for soliciting their ideas and feedback. This keeps everyone on the same page and gives you ideas to take back to upper management regarding the rules.

The solution is to report back at each new weekly meeting, what decisions have been made, why they have been made, and what ideas have been implemented regarding the employee feedback.

Author's Bio: 

Marlene Chism is the Founder of Attitude Builders, a staff-development system that requires no prep, no plan and no problem. Marlene helps busy managers run their offices with no complaints, no excuses and no regrets. To get more information go to