Between now and the beginning of school next year, principals and other school leaders will blow the dust off the staff handbook, skim through its 357 pages and start adding and revising sections. Stop the madness!

Staff handbooks are ever-growing for two reasons: 1 – They are rarely edited; and 2 – We are advised to micro-manage to the lowest common denominator. I gave up on the whole concept when a lawyer told me that since I didn’t define at what point “late” started and how many times one could be late in the handbook, “late” wasn’t an enforceable concept.

My solution, burn the employee handbook. Start over and create a “Staff Expectations Manual.” My first one was just 12 pages long and it changed the way we did business. Instead on micro-managing and trying to define every way an employee could not do the job, we just stated the expectation. “Staff will arrive at work by the posted reporting time.”

The employee either meets the expectation, or the employee does not meet the expectation. There is no middle ground, no gray area. The conversation with the employee sounds like this, “Mr. Cain, it is the expectation of the campus that you arrive at work by the posted reporting time. At this time, you are not meeting this expectation.”

Finally, an expectations manual helps to define the professional culture of the campus in positive terms instead to negative terms. And, it truly allows you to treat the staff as professionals and adults instead of immature children. Give it a try, I think you will like the results.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn….