Written by Rima-Maria Rahal
However, that really is not the end of the story. Recent research has found that people who break the rules are also seen as more powerful. For instance, if you put your feet on the table or drop your ashes on the floor, observers will think you more powerful than people who stick to the rules. Now, why is that? Generally, we think that people who are freer to act at will are more powerful. By putting your feet on the table, you can demonstrate that social norms don’t restrain you, and that you will freely act as you please even if it means breaking the rules. What’s more, there are some indications that observers of rule-violations would be more likely to pick a rule-breaker as a leader than someone who sticks to the rules. It seems like, in part, rule-breakers could have an edge in becoming leaders in practice because they are seen to be more likely to become effective leaders.
Bottom line: a carefully calculated rule-violation can help you to get an edge over others, but it's a risky game to play.
P.S.: Please be reminded that although you might consider slightly bending social norms and unwritten rules, we under no circumstances advise that you break the law.
This material stems from research carried out by psychologist and eMUN-fellows.net project director Rima-Maria Rahal. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns - and please do share with us if and how you were able to apply these thoughts to your everyday life as a future global leader!