Do we need to be told what to do? Will we circumvent a rule or regulation if no one was watching? Why bother with self-regulation?
Exasperated with the littering tourists alongside their compound, members belonging to a place of worship put up this signboard: 'THIS SPOT ADJOINS A PLACE OF WORSHIP, PLEASE KEEP IT CLEAN.' But this was to no avail. The littering continued. At another location, a sign reads, 'LANDSLIDE-PRONE SPOT. DO NOT PARK YOUR VEHICLE HERE.' Again, to no avail. Throwing caution to the winds, people not only park but picnic at the spot.
Guidelines, rules and regulations exist at the workplace too.
A new employee is presented with rules and regulations of the organisation at the time of joining. The rules range from office timing to leave rules, travel reimbursement and other related aspects of day-to-day work. There are general guidelines for document-filing procedures, reporting structure and confidentiality clauses and then there are unwritten rules of dress code and keeping the decorum in the office. To what extent these guidelines are followed determines the effectiveness of an organisation and its workforce.
But many a time, people choose not to follow the norm unless it is enforced. Regulatory mechanisms will take over and reprimand and punishment follows, with avoidable repercussions like lowered morale and motivation.
It is easy to flout or bend rules when unchecked. It is a challenge to keep to the rules when monitored. But it is a test of character to abide by the norm when no one is regulating!
Self-regulation is being able to adhere to procedure, without having to be told.
Professionally, the impact of being self-regulated is several-fold.
People who are self regulated,
-are rated with high integrity standards
-can be relied upon to meet deadlines
-will be entrusted with responsible tasks
-will be called to lead others
-will be seen as role models and benchmarks
-will be respected and their views regarded
As psychologist and bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman firmly establishes, truly effective leaders are distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.