Friday, July 17, 2009

Blind Obedience

I’m not sure I could ever be in the military as my father was. Blind obedience doesn’t sit well with me, and yet it’s a way of life and a vital tool for survival in the military.

In a business environment however, I think that blind obedience only hamstrings an organisation.

Any manager who expects and wants blind obedience is really just saying they want to constrict the growth of an organisation.

There’s a huge difference between respect and blind obedience.

• Blind obedience keeps on doing something even when it knows there’s a better way.

• Respect, says “have we ever thought about adding / changing…”

And while there’s a huge difference between respect and blind obedience there are also miles between respect and disrespect.

• Respect says “I’ve been thinking, what if we tried…” and clearly and concisely states their point for their manager.

• Disrespect says “That’s stupid and inefficient” either to their manager’s face or behind their back or continues to press their point long after their manager has considered it and decided to go in another direction

The problem? So many employees think that what their manager wants is blind obedience. The secret? The best managers want your input. They want you to help your organisation get better. When you improve something, everyone benefits and you make your manager look better. They may not always take your advice, or move in your direction (as a manger that’s their choice), but done respectfully it will always be of benefit.

Tweak your communication so it’s always respectful and always helpful and you’ll soon see that a first class manager will welcome your suggestions.

What to do if you have a manager who isn’t first class and who only wants blind obedience? Firstly, find out if this is the case or if you just assume it is (have a coffee with them and try them out on one piece of feedback, ask how they like feedback delivered). If you’re positive that they only want blind obedience my advice is: fall into line (but keep your eyes open for a different manager or mentor - you deserve better).

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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