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:
- 1. You will always know where you stand and never have to guess.
- 2. I won’t say anything behind close doors that I have not or am not planning on saying to your face.
- 3. I will be gracefully-brutally honest with you and when necessary, in front of the entire team. (this is not an issue of correcting in public; however some issues are are more effectively handled in a public setting, especially when the public group is involved)
Behind Closed Doors Policies born out of an unwillingness to openly confront the brutal facts and they are detrimental to the health and wealth of an organization. Replace your Behind Closed Doors Policy with an Above Board Policy. The Above Board Policy always lets people know where they stand and reduces the potential for the detrimental types closed door meetings.
Open The Door and Release The Potential!
Have you experienced negative implications of a Behind Closed Doors Policy? Share your thoughts on Behind Closed Doors Policy and Above Board Policy.