Balancing Compliance with Freedom

Balancing Compliance with Freedom

The challenge is not only to do the right thing, but to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason. This is the hallmark of a good leader and often requires a balancing act. The leader’s ability to balance compliance with freedom is one of the most critical reasons behind his success or failure.

For an employee, it is demotivating to have a manager who constantly points to the rules and regulations book, or ‘tick-boxes’ an individual’s performance against a score sheet. It is difficult to commit to a cause and find inner alignment if an employee feels they are constantly under threat.

For a manager, it is often important to have order and control. Employees nowadays have less belief in authority and are becoming more independent in their thoughts and beliefs. Many leaders find it difficult to adjust to the new world of decentralised power.

Employees are generally more likely to commit to and support what they create if a leader takes them into his confidence by articulating the organisation’s story, the highs and the lows, the usual and the unusual. Everyone becomes aware of something bigger and more meaningful than their own position in the organisation.

Employees discover they share similar values, and their individual and collective journey begins to take on a greater meaning. Each day, employees have a desire to return to their workplace in order to continue co-creating ‘their story’.

Achieving a state of compliance with good governance can usually be attained when leaders appeal to the hearts of people in the interest of a meaningful organisational story with responsible and inspirational leaders as the main characters. As one can be proud of a neat room and a tidy desk, employees can be proud of doing things in the right and agreed way.

Are you doing the right thing at the right time?

Adapted from an article by Dr Gerhard van Rensburg for CGF Research

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