In the company and in the education of children, the rules facilitate organization. But when the rules are too many, the effect is the opposite.
Rules are useful. They are used to help us to be with others, to share the same spaces, to achieve common goals. In the process of growth, internalizing social rules is as fundamental as learning to develop our deepest essence. It is thanks to the rules that children are able to find their boundaries and to clearly understand which walls they have to collide with. It is also valid in the company: writing and sharing a company regulation or a code of ethics allows workers to know what is allowed and what is not.
Moderation is the most important rule
So, the rules are welcome … but in moderation. For example, we sometimes impose on children rules that are harmful to their development, such as not to get dirty when they go to the park. Or we force them to dress up as dolls or little men without a real need, and it is clear that those clothes will suffer endless oppression and will be hated.
In the company, the consequences are similar. Think of the widespread command and control system: sometimes it seems that it is necessary to control every single movement of employees and colleagues, keeping everything under lock and key. With what results? That the only ones who remain loyal to the company are the least motivated, or those who need a police regime to “stay in the ranks”. On the contrary, the most motivated people, the most capable, flee elsewhere in search of new contexts in which to feel freer. And entrepreneurs complain, often underestimating that it is all the fault of the excess of rules.
From the model of suspicion to the model of trust
The answer is certainly not simple, but it lies in the business model that we intend to implement. There is a “suspicion” model: if my starting point is that I don’t trust anyone, then I’ll only see people around me I can’t trust. But there is also an opposite model: if I trust, listen, share the corporate mission and vision, then my company will be a place to land and stay. And from which the less motivated, who have not built a sense of belonging, will gradually leave. With advantages for the company.
When they encounter useless or incomprehensible rules, people rebel, because they cannot breathe and express themselves. On the contrary, sensible and shared rules are respected by most. When a leader is able to stimulate proactivity, he creates work environments where employees invest their commitment.
A sense of responsibility reinforces compliance with the rules
Finally, let us remember that rules never travel alone: they must be accompanied by a great sense of responsibility. A parent, a teacher, an entrepreneur knows that a rule said, and perhaps written, is much more demanding than an unspoken laissez-faire. He knows that that rule requires continuous dedication, presence, constant closeness over time, in order to be respected.
The first impression is what matters. This is why it is important to be able to overcome prejudice and to really know who we are facing. Scientific research has shown that it takes 4 to 20 seconds to figure out who we are in front of. After the first impression, the person is pigeonholed, labeled and, if you like, a goner. From this moment on we begin to select only the behaviors that correspond to our idea. If the other does something different we do not even see it, because it does not correspond to our “prejudice“.
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