Suspending a rule is at times the rule to apply by leadership. One of the forces against innovation, change, and effectiveness is the strict adherence to rules at all costs.
No one is denying that rules are put in place for order and should be enforced, but the challenge is applying them in areas that demand flexibility.
Hiring someone that may not have the required credentials on paper during certain organizational circumstances or overlooking a disciplinary code for a student may not be done by one who is a strict conformist to rules.
A leader, manager, imam, CEO has to realize that rules are rules and not laws of physics. It’s okay to suspend them under certain circumstances to repel harm and to achieve a calculated greater benefit.
The ignorant may cry unfairness, favoritism, or lack of consistency, but that’s because they’ve missed the bigger picture.
This concept is deeply rooted in Islam. The fiqh maxim: “necessity makes the prohibited permissible” is a classical example of suspending a rule for a calculated greater benefit.
The key to successful management is knowing when to suspend a rule and when not to. Either way, don’t expect everyone to understand your decisions.