Be Consistent–But Be Flexible
Behavioral scientists have shown that the quickest way to make a lab rat (or any living animal) crazy is to keep changing the rules. The same goes for your staff. If you’re constantly shifting priorities and expectations, it won’t be long before you’ve created an atmosphere of insecurity, distrust, and confusion.
Imagine that you’re the captain of a ship. Every time you change course abruptly, you’re throwing everyone from one side of the cabin to the other. The end result? A seasick, mutinous crew. If you need to adjust the course of your vessel, the best approach is to do so gradually, with plenty of forewarning.
You also need to be consistent in your treatment of workers. If one person is censured for coming in late three times, everyone should be held to the same standard. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reward good performances or criticize poor behavior; it means that your standards need to be applied equally to everyone, all the time. It’s okay to be tough, as long as you’re balanced and fair.