trust vs rules

I saw a tweet about Jutta’s #agile2019 experiment is trust cheaper.

trust experiment

I got a flash back to a x years (x to protect the innocents)

I was working at a company where my manager, had a problem with 1 (yes not a typo) one freelancer that was doing too many hours, as in +12 hours a day.

For the record, he was not thinking this freelancer did not do the hours, he found it was setting a bad example. He knew that the person was doing the best he could, he was one of the best, maybe the best person around (according to the manager), yet he also knew that it was hero behavior and although he could not prove it, he was afraid that with too many hours, the results of the extra hours was also of lesser quality and so maybe even hurting his team and company.

My manager did not want to confront that one person on the long hours. He did not want the person to feel attack, as after all, he liked his work.

The solution that my manager came up with, was create a new set of rules that had as purpose to forbid working for more than 10 hours.
let’s be clear everyone at the company, knew why we had the new rules, except maybe the hero developer (looking in hindsight, I think he knew too, yet he never told me, and we were not supposed to discuss this with him.)

The new rules, had all kind of detailed stuff,like starting hours, and working late hourse, and remote hours etc etc.

They bothered everyone, F ex I know of a one single parent who did a good job, that felt forced to change hours and left the company for that sometime later.

So that was a nice or better bad example of a manager that did not want to confront a persons behavior, and changed the rules to avoid the needed conversation.

To make things worse, guess who never followed these new rules and in the end had a conversation with the manager to get an official exception to these rules.

You guess right, that was our hero developer.
So now we all had to comply to arbitrary rule to keep a person in line, that in the end, was the only one who did not had to follow the rules.

That’s my trust vs rules story, what’s yours?