Road Rules for A Stronger Team

Make Your Team Stronger With A Clear Set of Road Rules

Whether you are a brand new manager or a seasoned leader, it can ease your manager-subordinate relationship to clarify your rules of the road. With the benefit of experience (which comes from making mistakes, of course), I have developed a set of Manager-Employee “Road Rules” which work for me. I tend to pull these out and share them when I have a new direct report. My goal is to accelerate our understanding of one another so we can work together most effectively. Here's what they look like: 

Shannon’s Road Rules
(Ground Rules for Working Together Effectively)


  1. Shoot Straight: be open, honest and forthright in your communication with me and others. This includes times when you have an issue with someone else. Please work to resolve it directly with him/her first. I will advise you if asked, but won’t allow “dump and runs” to replace personal conflict resolution.
  2.  Act Like You Want To Be Here: Manage your own morale through your actions and behaviors on the floor every day. This means conducting yourself in professionally, with kindness and optimism. Positivity breeds positivity. Make sure your words and actions demonstrate your commitment to your job, to your team and to our organization. 
  3. Quantify It: Whenever you bring me an issue, a problem, or a decision to be made, have your facts and be able to express them clearly. Be specific. Terms like “lots of, hardly any” have no place in business. Strive to express yourself and your situation by using facts and numbers.
  4. Don’t Sit On It: Old #1 Boss rule - we don’t like surprises. You will never, ever get in trouble with me by raising your hand about something that is a problem or a potential problem. You will if you DON’T.
  5. Be Open To Feedback: Demonstrate a willingness to listen to, really hear, and reflect on feedback about your performance and behaviors. Feedback, when delivered kindly and with integrity, is a major way we all can continuously improve.


  1. Honest Communication: I will strive to tell it like it is, to respect your intelligence and ability to handle information, good or bad. I don’t want you to have to guess or doubt where I am coming from, I want you to know. I will try hard for you never to learn some news about our department from someone outside of it. Most importantly, if you come to me in trouble, you will always find me willing to listen and help you find a solution.
  2. Walk the Talk: I will strive to walk the talk. I will aim to demonstrate positivity and professionalism in my interactions, and will not tolerate any double standards within the department or the leadership team. I will seek your input, advice and opinions and advocate for your needs in making our organization a great place to work.
  3. Rely on Facts: I will make decisions based on facts and data, and try never to give you vague, bogus reasons for something.
  4. Be Open To Feedback: I will ask for, listen to, really hear, and reflect on feedback about my performance and behaviors. I see feedback, when delivered kindly and with integrity, as a critical element to my success.

Of course, it is important to use the Road Rules as a starting point for dialog. Members of my leadership team usually express appreciation for the Road Rules conversation. Many went on to adapt and share road rules of their own with their teams. What “road rules” are you using with your team? Are your rules explicit or unstated?