Apathy, Malicious Obedience and Personal Responsibility

Friday, December 16th, 2011 | Uncategorized

That was a long pause since my last post. A lot of things happened since than. The current post is more of an outcry, an attempt to reach people’s consciousness in order for them to realise the importance of personal responsibility in their daily life — both professional and private.

The aspect of personal responsibility I’m concerned with is the professional responsibility. Often when working in an environment of the Management 1.0 (as opposed to Management 3.0) style of command and control, people find easier not to do anything that is not requested of them directly instead of thinking of the best ways of dealing with any task at hand.

This might seem as a self preservation mechanism — usually as the result of multiple failed attempts in the past to be proactive and trying to do their job in the best possible way. Failed attempts because of the managerial approach of shutting such attempts down with statements “you’ll be doing what I tell you to do” and “I can have you on the street any time if…”. After a while, people become reluctant to think proactively, loose any incentive to be self-motivating and become downright supporters of the malicious obedience. While not thinking proactively and absence of self-motivation is not helping any company to succeed, the malicious obedience has an extremely destructive power.

Malicious obedience is:

The Modus Operandi adopted by those who work for people convinced of their own infallible decision-making prowess, where one gleefully does what they’re told, even though they know it’s misguided, and waiting for the moment when it all blows up in their supervisor’s face. The precursor to schadenfreude.

One could always blame the management — this is the easiest and least resistant way of dealing with cases of Management 1.0 techniques. And most likely no one could object to the fact that it is first of all the management issue. However, IMO everyone who works for the company should always use their consciousness as the guide to their actions. This implies that instead of the apathy or malicious obedience one should always take personal responsibility in their actions with understanding that they themselves would be hurt more than anyone else by not taking a proactive action or actioning a bad order with a malicious intent.

Why would such person suffer most of their lack of personal responsibility replaced by malicious obedience? First of all because usually the ordinary employees, who are not the owners of the business and have no high-salary managerial position, are the ones to be least protected. Thus, if the business goes sour because of the poor management decisions that person would be the first to feel it.

There is a famous quote by Jim Rohn:

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

Therefore, whatever is our job we should always take personal responsibility in performing it. Do your best to understand the opinion of your superior, of your co-workers, and do your best to communicate your own position to others. And if there is a true problem where your valid opinions are often ignored and incompetent decisions are made just because the management is simply incompetent to even listen to what your have to say, then do not go against you consciousness — quit and find a place where your expertise would actually matter.

This post could potentially be of interest for further reading. Also, this podcast and this video offer some interesting, fresh perspective on management.

Happy personal responsibility in the coming year to all who cares!
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