No Respect, No Obedience

No matter how much you love conspiracy theories, I beg you not to assume what message am I about to pass on through this note. Despite the title might sound confusing the first time, I can assure you that I am not saying that we should not respect or obey our bosses, but rather should realize that true obedience comes only when you earn your subordinates’ respect and love.

“Fear is a strange soil. It grows obedience like corn, which grow in straight lines to make weeding easier. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground.” ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

In my own understanding, what Terry Pratchett wanted to say in his work Small Gods is that fear is a human factor that, if installed alone without caring for earning people’s love, respect or compassion, results in artificial obedience. Artificial obedience is actually worse than true obedience that comes naturally with compassion. For example, the obedience that true believers feel about the Creator, our Master, the one and only God. But covering the religious aspects of fear and obedience is outside the scope of this note and therefore, I will not mention that moving forward. But you should get an idea where am I getting at by comparing the fear that Mr. Pratchett talked about in his books and the one that I just mentioned regarding God-fearing (and loving) obedient believers.


Getting back to the discussion of artificial obedience and genuine compassionate obedience, staying within the context of corporate employment and the never-decaying topic of boss-subordinates relationship, it certainly cannot be built just upon fear. The popular approach among most of the typical bosses is something like this: “I tell you what to do, and you do it. If you do not, you are going to see the door.” By doing this, the managers or bosses who are supposed to be the driving force of company’s and by-and-large the nation’s success, eventually become the reason for the company falling to the ground on its face leaving the nation with one less development partner and a bunch of newly emerged jobless people in need for vacancies. Unfortunately, the vacancies do not emerge as quickly as they did. Therefore, it is safe to say that the repercussions of carrying a fear-mongering mentality as a boss can not only have a bad impact on the company, but the invaluable institutions like the nation or the society will also get damaged considerably.

And I can’t even begin to talk about the negative impact this can have on a family, the smallest and the most important institution for the society, nation and the humanity at large. Family is the unit of all other social and human institutions that exist. If this gets damaged, the whole world suffers. You must be wondering how does a fear-mongering inconsiderate boss cause damage to the families. Well, they do it in two different ways! By using that approach of running their management, they do not feel good deep inside. They feel guilty and the fact that they refuse to admit the truth to themselves, they build up an anger and dissatisfaction about everything around them. When they unleash that anger, the first victims are going to be their families – their closest ones. On the other hand, their subordinates also suffer from mental health issues and an unwanted/unjust mental pressure all the time because of their boss’ ill behavior. As a result, they cannot carry out their duty as a family person (or as the leader of the family in most of the cases).

The other important factor that Terry Pratchett pointed out quite explicitly is that the possibilities of facing a revolution and armed/forced protest from the employees against the corporate bodies or organizations that have been trying to install fears in hope for keeping them in line. Often times, preparation for such revolutions or protests or movements cannot be seen or felt by anyone since they take place underground, or behind the scene. They need time to come up with the perfect response and when they do, that response can really become the reason for bringing down a monarchy. The question is – do we want this? No, of course we don’t. The employers will do their part and the employees will do their part, and that should be all! No one wants this underground preparation for protesting or even the protest itself. But that does not mean that it is not necessary sometimes. Fear-mongers do need to be taught a good lesson. History showed us that again and again.


So, what can be a good and a peaceful permanent solution to these problems? There is indeed a solution that is pretty simple but it unfortunately needs to start from the employers or the bosses – not the employees.

“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” ― Albert Einstein

Yes, that is the solution. You might say that I am oversimplifying. But if you look at what Einstein said here and really ponder upon it, you will know that speaking in the same way to everyone does necessarily force a person to speak nicely showing proper respect, love and compassion to everyone that they can possibly come across. Because you simply cannot – and will never – speak harshly to everyone in your life. For starters, a boss cannot speak harshly to their boss, can they?

Secondly, when a person practices speaking in the same way to everyone, they start realizing how peaceful things could have been and how much easier it has now become to get things done through your subordinates and most importantly, how much more blessed the outcome has turned out to be that the same team used to produce before! Team will start accomplishing a lot more given the same amount of time and resources. Showing up to office will no longer remain a simple routine that they need to maintain to get the paycheck. But rather, they will want to come to office and their workplace just to have a good time!

Last but not the least, when the subordinates see that a person with such high caliber and someone who is in such a powerful position of this big corporation is treating everyone in the same way, with respect and compassion, they will learn a lot from that, too! They will thrive to become like that person and eventually will become a better person to their family members and their subordinates. They will see a rickshaw puller as a human being just like their father, brother, or son.

When that happens, you know that you have successfully buried a seed into the ground that will create a revolution across the world. Changing the world cannot be accomplished by trying to change others, but it is accomplished when we change what’s in our own selves.