It’s Just Like Elementary School

Remember the days when you were in school, and some kid in your class would do something while the teacher wasn’t looking? Then, the teacher would demand that the person come forward or the whole class would be punished?

Ok, maybe that still occasionally happened in high school, or in training for a military service branch. You’re using peer pressure to the enforce the rules. In the high school case, it’s because the mutual pressure of a student’s peers is stronger than any reasonably proportional punishment you can deal out, especially if you have no clue who did it. In the military case, it’s to drive home the concept that every little thing you do impacts the entire team.

Of course, at work, everything you do has the potential to impact your team. However, I doubt that one team member’s choice to wear jeans with partially exposed backsides should be met with taking away the privilege of wearing jeans for the entire office. It should be met with some sort of HR or law enforcement action, depending on how bad the offense really is.

But suppose some people are just pushing the rules too far: If people are wearing pajamas to work, then those people should be told by their managers to stop. If entire teams are doing it, obviously the managers are not getting the message through. Even if there is a failure on enforcing some policy on the part of one manager, there shouldn’t be a company-wide change in response. The solution still lies with one person.

…or you could just treat us all like we’re back in elementary school. Class, we’re all going to have to stay after school because Johnny didn’t get his work done.  Oh, wait. That still happens.

Never mind, forget this whole post.