Personal Development

Four simple steps to set team rules

Now more than ever, we need to learn to work in the new reality. Nothing like this has happened before. Different generations, with other habits, working in the same environment. People moved from offices to home in less than a week, and some continue to work from home. In this new environment, the traditional approach is not working. Times when the manager was there, seeing all what is happening and reacting to it, are over. In this new environment, teams need purpose and direction on how to act. And this unique environment gives the manager endless opportunities, and at the same time, limits their reactions to what he sees or thinks he sees.

The journalists called this changed environment “the new normal.” And it came so quickly that most of the managers and leaders in the world could not build a sustainable approach toward their teams.

No matter the changing situation, there are still universal rules to help managers and leaders gain control over the situation and allow the team to work remotely and effectively.

Here I am offering you four simple rules to build sustainable team engagement and performance in this “new normal.”

Explain why rules in the team are needed

You cannot win others while not explaining the purpose of what you need them to do. People do not break the rules because they want, but they do not see them as meaningful in their work and life. Suppose a leader seeks to build sustainable in-time practices, he first needs to communicate why these rules are required. Human beings follow the rules because they see the purpose in them. If we do not see sense, then things are not essential for us too.

Before starting to build rules, the most important thing is to communicate and make everyone feel comfortable with what is going to come.

Brainstorm with the team

If we do not participate in building rules, we do not feel that these rules are essential. The second simple rule is to create involvement. People accept things quickly when they are part of their creation process. Ideas on what the rules should be must not come from the leader but collected from the team. A brainstorming session can save much time and will get everyone on the same page. Leveling the ideas and explaining them to others in the group is an essential step that the leader must not miss.

Analyze ideas with team members and rank them

“I heard your ideas, now hear my decision.” These were the words of a former manager I have had to work with ten years ago. She ultimately lost me after these words. And, of course, things did not go very well between us. The third simple rule is to include the team in the decision-making process.

The leader can collect all the ideas, but they do not know how important or unimportant these ideas are. The team must be fully involved in the process of analyzing and ranking the ideas. Only then will you get the list with the things that matter most for everyone, instead of building the official rules list from the position and knowledge you bring to the room.

Write down the rules accepted from all team members

The leader has a critical task at the end – to build commitment toward the team rules. To ensure this will happen, they will need to focus on the list of rules that everyone, or at least most of the team members, did commit. If there is a list confirmed, it has to be distributed to everyone’s attention. Team members must see what they have agreed to follow as rules and have to have them somewhere to refer to them when needed. The team leader is there to bring the controls to life and ensure that they will be followed by everyone and behaviors and results will be aligned with them.


Nothing destroys the working environment more than the chaos. No matter the maturity, all teams need clear rules to ensure sustainable results in time. And it is the team leader or manager’s responsibility to give these rules to the team and provide balance in work and life through them.


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