Organizations tend to live and die by their Policy and Procedure Manuals. There are policies and procedures for literally everything. Just think about your organization and the number of policies and procedures that guide what you do. Some policies and procedures are written, while others may simply be spoken or understood organizational mores.
There is one policy that in my opinion is the most devastating to an organization. It’s the “Behind Closed Doors” Policy! You won’t find this written in your organization’s policy and procedure manual; however, you will find it written on the faces of organizational leaders around the globe.
Some “behind closed door” meetings are appropriate and necessary. There are many different types of “Behind Closed Doors” Policies that are detrimental to an organization; just ask Mr. Enron and Mrs. AIG. The “Behind Closed Doors” Policy that I’m referring to is this — What I say to you in your face is different that what I say about you behind closed doors. This policy is a killer, and often times, it’s implemented without even realizing it. This policy is born out of The Fundamental Flaw of Leadership, which is rooted in not shooting straight with team members and not allowing them to know where they stand.
I remember changing supervisors one time at a particular job, and my new supervisor brought me in his office and said this: “Do you want to know what people say about you when you are not in the room? Well, here it is,” and proceeded to share. That’s a great starting place and develops an “Above Board” Policy.
The policy that I have always incorporated into the culture of my various teams in ministry, non-profit, and in corporate America is simply this: