By the
Mind Tools
Editorial Team

Why the Rules Are There

Helping People Understand and Enforce Rules

© Veer

The rules keep people safe.

Adults tend to resent rules – especially rules in the workplace. Have you, or the people around you, ever thought these things:

"Why can't they trust us?"
"Do they think we're stupid or something!"
"Isn't that just common sense?"

The reality is that not everyone has the same level of common sense or awareness of consequences, and not everyone can be trusted. That's why organizations need rules.

In a perfect world, we'd all do our jobs with integrity, honesty, safety, and concern for the well-being of stakeholders. But do you have to look far to find examples where this hasn't happened? People embezzle money from companies all the time. And they sometimes take extreme actions to cover up mistakes. A recent example is the French trader who created billions of dollars of debt for his employer, just to try to hide a bad mistake.

Why We Have Rules

Unfortunately, some people take advantage of situations for their benefit. That's why rules are necessary. It's also why you need to understand why the rules are there and what they protect. When you appreciate this, you can help yourself – and others – follow the rules and build more harmony in the workplace.

There are essentially two types of rules...

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