Question Authority

Questioning authority and defying authority are two different steps. A person in authority has the power to make decisions on various choices and then has the responsibility to see that they are carried out. This person has his or her reasons for making the decision. Often this person has more information than you do.

If you don’t understand the decision, question the authority. Ask what the factors are and how this decision is the best answer. If the person has the information, then he or she should be able to explain the pronouncements that he or she makes on whatever subject. If this person is a supervisor, then he or she should be able explain why the choice is the best. If the supervisor is smart, he or she will explain this information when the pronouncement is made.

When I was a teacher, I went to my principal and asked why a decision that was made. The decision did not make sense to me, and was inconvenient for me as a teacher. The principal was a wise man, so the first thing he did was to shut me up by telling me that from my perspective, I was right. Then he explained his perspective, and told me about five other aspects of the problem that were news to me. At that point, clearly, he was right, and my inconvenience was minor compared to the larger good. I could clearly see the wisdom of the decision.

Of course, some people in authority are not wise, do not make good decisions, and their idea of an explanation is “my way or the highway.” In that case, you choose to go along, leave, or challenge the authority. In some cases, such as when the authority is a legal system, you may choose civil disobedience, openly defying authority.

The better choice is likely to be questioning authority first, to see if you have all the facts before you put yourself or your job on the line.

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1 Response to Question Authority

  1. Another great post buddy…. really enjoyed it 😀