The Employee Bill of Rights

What if there was a common set of “rules” for leading others? What if leaders could be held accountable to a few simple standards of behavior? What if employees had a universal set of expectations they could look forward to (or demand) from their leaders? Doesn’t this sound like something we should get excited about?

Let’s pretend that we could get Congress to pass this set of rules as a universal series of “rights” for all employees. Let’s also say that organizations bought into this concept fully – and starting holding leaders accountable for these simple behaviors. Wouldn’t that make for some interesting behavior change on the part of bad bosses everywhere? Maybe there could even be a standard set of consequences for leaders – ignore one of the employee rights, and you’re reprimanded. Break two, and there goes your bonus. Break three and you’re fired, immediately. Think that might get managers’ attention?

Here’s my Employee Bill of Rights:

  1. Everyone has the right to a clear and compelling vision – we want to know where we’re going, and we want that place to be cool and meaningful.
  2. Everyone gets to participate in setting the strategy – we all get a say in how we’re going to accomplish the mission.
  3. Everyone deserves timely and useful performance feedback – tell us how we’re doing, and how we can get better… oh, and make the annual performance review really honest, fair and robust.
  4. Everyone gets to contribute ideas and innovations – ask us for input!
  5. Everyone gets frequent, honest communication – tell us what you know, when you know it.
  6. Everyone deserves to be empowered – give us high (but fair) expectations… we want to do things right. But give us the resources and time to do great things, and let us do it our way as much as possible.
  7. Everyone wants to be recognized for great performance – praise us when we do great stuff… we respond well to positive reinforcement.
  8. Everyone wants career development – help us stretch, grow and move up in the organization.
  9. Everyone deserves a mature, professional workplace – we want a work environment that is full of class, where everything is done with a strong values and a high degree of excellence.
  10. Everyone is respected and valued as individuals – no more harassment, stupid rules, or ridiculous management habits. Say thank you (a lot), and bring out the best in everyone.

That’s my wish list for holding leaders accountable to the right behaviors – what do you think?