When Being Lenient Goes Too Far- Here’s Where Managers Should Draw the Line

In order to maintain order and professionalism in the workplace, there needs to be a plan in place that will benefit everyone involved. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to implement unnecessary rules that are ineffective and unreasonable. Many managers are faced with the same dilemma- how to be professional without being too lenient. It’s important to create a work culture where employees are safe, productive, and responsible, while also being careful not to impose rules that will negatively impact them. As modern managers try to break the mold of old-fashioned hard-driving bosses, they have to be careful not to let the pendulum swing too far. Wondering if you are being too lenient? Here are a few times when managers need to draw the line. 

When Employees are Underperforming

If you notice that your employees are struggling to meet their performance expectations, perhaps it is time to reign them back in. Remote working, flexible work schedules, and not looking over their shoulder may have sounded like a great plan, but you may need to tighten the reins a bit more if your employees are falling behind. Rather than making excuses and continuing to allow lenient rules, it’s time to step up and provide mentoring and support so you can get them back on track. This also applies to the use of mobile devices during work hours. Again, some managers might try to be lenient about this but there are times when this behavior could be so prevalent that it interferes with the employee’s performance. 

When Behaviors Affect Other Colleagues

Managers should never be too lenient when it comes to the professional behavior of their employees. If at any time an employee’s behavior is discriminatory, abusive, harassment, or inappropriate in any way, it needs to be addressed immediately. A manager’s job is to provide a safe environment for all employees so it is imperative that you draw the line if an employee’s behavior affects another colleague. 

If the Behavior is Offensive

Oftentimes managers try to be lenient when it comes to dress code but there are times when the line absolutely must be drawn. If an employee wears clothing that is offensive in any way, it should be deemed unacceptable. For example, clothing with profanity, political statements, or other offensive graphics should not be permitted. Likewise, clothing that is ripped, tight, short, or totally unprofessional should not be tolerated. Managers should be clear about outlining what is acceptable in the employee handbook and be careful not to discriminate. 

If the Behavior is Illegal

Sometimes managers become so lenient that they become friends with their employees. This might make it difficult to hold them accountable for their actions. However, if at any time the behavior is illegal, it should be grounds for immediate termination. This includes things like theft, illegal drug use, intoxication, violence, or harassment.