- Ian Gregory
Should disobedience be part of a leader’s development? Should you be encouraging or even demanding disobedience in your leaders as well as your workforce? I believe it’s not only needed, but essential in the push for excellence in your organization. Now I’m not saying you should be disobedient in your behavior, but I definitely am saying you should be disobedient in your thinking, you should question everything.
Every workplace has its own culture, its own way of doing things. Human beings are creatures of habit and pretty quickly, they find their place in that culture, they find their way and then they repeat daily. They rarely ask themselves if what they have been taught is the best way of doing things, they don’t look to see if the rules of the workplace are helping or hindering in the push for excellence. They mostly go along to get along and they do what they have been told to do and that is ok…..if average is the goal. But I have said on many occasions that average is boring and boredom is the killer of innovation, it stops the excitement of fresh perspectives and dulls the advance of critical thinking and creativity.
As a leader, you play a large role in the culture of your organization, at least in the space or spaces that you are in charge of. So take a look around and ask yourself if the culture that you have created is positive or negative. Are the workers happy and excited and talking about how they can help make a difference? Are they engaged and constantly looking for new and better ways to apply their knowledge? And what role are you playing in this scenario? Are you sitting back, hoping that nothing goes wrong and no conflicts arise? Or are you out among them, pushing them for new ideas, encouraging that creative tension that is needed for workplace breakthroughs. Somebody out there has a better idea, and from a leadership perspective, don’t you want that idea to be brought forward?
So be a disobedient thinker. Question everything. It should all be up for debate. What you train and how you train should be questioned - can you be faster, smarter, more efficient? The rules and regulations should be questioned - are they applicable today and do they help or hinder the workforce? The daily routine should be questioned – is it productive, are you getting the most out of it, is it proactive? Your leadership should be questioned (you knew I was going there) – are you growing your people, are you growing your teams, are you growing yourself?
Being disobedient in your thinking is not about being disrespectful; it is not about questioning things because you personally don’t like them. It is about the need for organizations to be flexible, to be responsive to change, and to push the envelope. It is about the excitement of what’s around the corner and the growth needed to handle that. And it is most definitely about the leadership that leads that charge and confidently encourages the disobedient thinker.