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Averting Rebellion

Rules without relationship yields rebellion.

Forcing rules on people incites rebellious attitudes, even when the rules make sense and are based on accepted values. Why? Enforcing rules is a way to control behavior – when we legislate and force behaviors, resentment builds in those being controlled. When resentment builds, rebellion occurs.

Granted, rebellion typically isn’t obvious in organizations – it tends to be subtle. In the workplace, employee rebellion usually is passive, revealed by inattention to quality, deficient service, unwillingness to innovate, efficiency neglect or minimal productivity. Ultimately, rebellion shows itself through disengaged employees, poor commitment, lackluster results.

Once someone is beyond our view or reach, we no longer control their behaviors and the potential for rebellion increases. The remedy for rebellion is to encourage and promote willing compliance; willing compliance must be won through trusting relationships. Trusting relationships trump rebellious attitudes. When trusting relationships exist, people more willingly comply with and exhibit expected behaviors.

Too often we interact with people rather than relate to them. Interacting implies acting upon someone while relating to suggests connecting with or cooperatively engaging them. While the difference is subtle, it is important.

When we interact, the goal is usually to get what we want. When we relate, our focus is at least equally on the other person, for their sake or for mutual benefit. When leaders sincerely relate to people trusting relationships develop that encourage voluntarily compliance with organizational values and expected behaviors.

Trusting relationships motivate people to connect with values, beliefs, ideas, goals and aspirations. Astute leaders understand the critical link between building high trust and goal achievement. They understand trusting relationships must be established to gain employee commitment to the organization’s vision and values. They know voluntary alignment will produce extraordinary results.

Avoid rebellion – resist interacting and commence relating.


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