Cat and Mouse
Want to lose a good employee? Make them play the cat and mouse game. The cat and mouse game is when the employer sets the work standards and goals and the employee undermines those standards and goals whenever they think they won't be caught. Why do employees do this?
They do it because either they don't think the work is valuable or, with the information they have, they think they know better than you.
Consider this. Years ago, I had the opportunity to work with adults who were blind or visually impaired. My job was to provide them with the skills they needed to enter or re-enter the workforce. When I started working for this organization the "Work Adjustment" area had numerous bins with long screws, horseshoe shape metal pieces that could be strung on the screws, and nuts to be fitted on the screws. The task was for the instructor to assemble a widget using these pieces and for the student to copy this widget in a quick and efficient manner. In addition to monitoring the widget task, I was supposed to make sure that these adults followed standard workplace rules like be on time and respect your boss. I had one gentleman, totally blind following a act of violence, who was quick to challenge this work adjustment method. This gentleman would wander in, clearly on his own timeline, and would refuse to participate in the widget activity. When challenged about his behavior, he stated, "Why do I care? You have me putting together things only to take them apart for the next person. I'm not learning anything. So what if I'm late." His perception was that he wasn't doing anything of value. He was right. Although the activity was supposed to simulate a job task, it didn't have any real value on its own.
In order to overcome this work adjustment obstacle, we started taking in volunteer work for the students. Performing real work made a huge difference to many aspects of the work adjustment program. Why would this make such a big difference? Take a look at this Ideas.Ted.com article. By giving the students valuable work to do, they were able to truly simulate work. These activities were a better orientation to the world of work than the widget activity. The voluntary work also help create a better, healthier environment for the students in the work adjustment program.
Why would an employee think that they know more than the organization's leaders? Your staff work off the information they have. Most care about what they are doing and do the best with what they know. The more your staff are connected to the overall organization, the better they can make decisions about how they perform their jobs.
Let's face it, you can't be with each of your staff every minute of every work day. You can't be there to answer every question and help them to process every decision. When you are not there your staff need to decide for themselves how they will perform their own job functions. Staff will look at the directives you have provided and then make a decision whether your directive makes sense to them.
Make sure you have given staff the tools that they need to to function as a productive staff member when you are not there.