Malicious obedience

I have been going through Bob McGannon’s Linkedin course on ‘Leading with Intelligent Disobedience‘, he brings up the concept of ‘malicious obedience’. It is the behaviour that follows from ‘well, if that’s what you want’. And it is probably what we engage in more often than we are proud of.

I think by juxtaposing intelligent disobedience with malicious obedience, one suddenly recognise rules for the place they should be. Yet more often than not, we follow rules somewhat blindly, out of laziness, fear or lethargy, when there might be more wisdom and intelligence in breaking them. Of course, here, we recognise another dimension for following the rules – it is to do so with malicious intent.

Of course, the malicious intent might not spring up overnight. It could be employees who knew something was wrong and sounded the alarms but the management refused to heed. It could be a child protesting the stupidity of a rule at home and not having received the appropriate explanation for why the rule was in place. So the risk of not empowering others with the ability to disobey intelligently is that we send the wrong message about what obedience is about.