Why Rules Don’t Always Work

Rules are required everywhere

Have you noticed there are a lot of issues surrounding the rules being made during the coronavirus? With the mask being the latest episode. There are people that support wearing the mask and then there are people that do not support wearing the mask. This opposition is generating a lot of chaos. This post has nothing to do about supporting either side. Regardless if you are for or against the mask rule isn’t the issue I want to discuss. The point I would like to raise is both the “consequences” and “enforcement” of the rule. Simply put, if you aren’t going to enforce the rule, why make the rule in the first place?

Rules Aren’t Always Required

Rules are important whether it be sports, work, or home life. Sports are a good example. There is a big difference between organized and unorganized sports. A golfer will fluff up his golf ball to improve his shot. Sometimes a golfer takes a mulligan, which is another shot without any penalty. However, there usually is a gentlemen’s rule of one mulligan per nine holes. However, in an organized game, there is a rule official. Someone is there to enforce the rules. They are called officials and umpires. You can contest any rule you want but have you ever seen an official change his call?

Effect of No Consequences

Most children have some rules at home. Will they break the rules? Of course, they will. But there have to be consequences should the rules not be followed. Then the consequences need to be enforced. However, if the consequences aren’t enforced, then those children tend to break the rules a little more than those children where consequences are enforced. Why? Because there are no consequences. They see no reason to abide by the rule. So, if you make the rules, make sure you also let them know the consequences and that you will enforce them. Otherwise, the rules are meaningless. As for the consequences, they don’t have to be tough. Just make the consequences something you can enforce. Even adults have trouble adhering to the rules. There is a swimming pool at an apartment complex. It is clearly stated, “no guests are allowed”. This year that rule was emphasized even more because of COVID 19. Since the pool is limited to only 50%  of normal max capacity, it is important that no guests swim to ensure the patrons have access. But patrons are having guests swim. When a violator of the rule was confronted, they were more interested to find out who turned them in than showing remorse. Here’s the best part, there isn’t any consequence for breaking the rule. They only get talked to. So, what is the incentive to adhere to the rule?

In The Workplace

Rules, consequences, and enforcement issues are apparent in the workplace as well. Some companies are much better than others. However, an effective leader has rules, consequences, and enforces those rules. There are no exceptions. Everyone is treated equally. Team players will appreciate and respect such a leader as long as the rules are fair. So, don’t make any rules that do not have any consequences and that you are not willing to enforce.

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