Individuality, on a personal level, is a good thing. We’re all different. We like different things. That’s great. That’s what life is all about and a big part of what makes it interesting and worthwhile.

However, when it comes to being a community staff member and enforcing the guidelines of a community, individuality is a bad thing. Your community staff should move as a unit. The guidelines should be enforced as consistently as possible.

In short, this is why things like contact templates and staff member guidelines exist. They exist to ensure consistency and to keep everything running smoothly.

This is why moderator individuality is a bad thing. I’m not talking stuff like one staff member signing messages “Regards,” and another signing them “Thanks,”. I’m talking about things like moderators deciding not to follow the staff guidelines or not practicing them in the right way.

I have seen a staff member, at a community that was not my own, operate in direct opposition to the staff member guidelines because he decided he wanted to do so. He decided that his way was better. This is completely unacceptable.

I’ve had a staff member who went behind my back to get “between” a member and me before I saw his post, which had violated our User Guidelines. The staff member acted as if there were sides and he was on the member’s side – not mine. Suffice to say, I unleashed upon this staff member and he resigned shortly thereafter. That’s a post for another day.

But, most mistakes aren’t that serious. The point is, when you see an error in judgment or something that is not in line with your expectations, step in and correct it, no matter how small. Do not allow incorrect practices to fester. Be polite, be productive and nice about it – but make sure that it is understood.

Your staff guidelines or manual shouldn’t be a suggestion – they should be a requirement. Moderators can be themselves, but it is also important for them to realize that they are a part of a team and that their moderators duties should be as consistent as possible from person to person.