I started out impressed. A whole section of a Gymnastics Canada‘s web site is dedicated to the topic of respect in sport. It even includes information to encourage positive and effective communication.
I stayed impressed until I went to look at their policies. Ironically, they don’t practise what they preach.
Well written policies don’t sound like annoyed parents talking to naughty children. Well written policies sound like adults talking respectfully to other adults.
GymCan’s policy for behaviour at international events sounds like it was written by a frustrated parent laying down the law for the last time. It opens with a fierce-sounding “are required to abide by the following directives” and deteriorates from there into a stream of “musts,” “strictly-forbiddens,” and “failure to comply” threats. I can almost see the index finger wagging at me as I read through it.Now, don’t do it again!
Policy compliance comes naturally when people willingly buy into your rules. People will willingly buy into your rules only when they feel respected.
Policy enforcement taxes your resources. Imagine what you could do with your time if you didn’t have to waste it enforcing policies.
A simple rewrite is all that’s needed to fix this problem. Replace the you-will-obey-me tone of voice with one that’s informative and neutral.
Word your rules respectfully, and people will follow them gladly.