Why do employees break rules?

Sometime back a video of the delivery executive of a food delivery app became viral wherein this delivery executive was filmed eating the ordered food and repackaging it before giving it to the concerned customers. This video raised questions on the work ethics of the company, many questions like why did the delivery executive did that as they are clearly mandated to give quality product and services to their customers, does the employer pay so less to these executives that they have to resort to such behaviour in order to satisfy his hunger or was this done intentionally due to some disagreement with the superior. If we think of it, there will be numerous questions that will arise. However, the underlining questions are why do employees get into a rebellious streak and break rules which are not meant to be broken.

The above is one of the incidents that came into the limelight, but in reality, some organizations face these situations where employees decide to violate the company policy, and these incidents don’t end up being a headline of the newspaper. Moreover, some employees time and again flout the rules in spite of getting ample warnings to them. At times mere warning is enough to understand the implications of their actions, and there are times when multiple warnings don’t suffice. Usually, employees’ resort to rebellion when their demands haven’t been met like increment in their salaries, better working conditions, etc. and their rebellious streak takes the form of strikes, total boycott or simply not reporting to the work. There are other ways like being unpunctual, the quality of the work they do is poor, or as the delivery executive did doing something which directly affects the customer. 

Leaders have to be proactive and confront reality with the employees. Rule-breaking is a severe issue for the organization as, if the organization is not able to take suitable measures at the right time, the reputation of the company is at stake. The food delivery app has taken measures such as tamper-proof tapes and other corrective actions to avoid incidents which would hamper the reputation of the company. They have also hiked the salary of the delivery executive. Furthermore, they are educating their delivery fleets to report any inconsistency helping them rectifying and thus giving better customer service. 

The leaders have to face tough situations head-on, even if it is a difficult topic to discuss. Rather than ignoring and thinking the situation will go away, the leader should stop evading it and act on it. While confronting reality, it affects the relationship with the colleagues, and it builds the trust within the team as it encourages open interaction. Confronting reality is based on the principle of courage, responsibility, awareness, and respect. These principles aides in making the team stronger and will help the organization to become a high trust organization. While confronting reality the leader need not be solely responsible for finding the solution, they should discuss the issues with the colleagues and collectively can come up with the solution which would help the organization in the long run. 

Confront reality is a powerful tool which would help in building trust in the organization. This is because people will know you're genuine and authentic. The leader is directly addressing the problematic issues that are in people’s minds and hearts and affect their lives.