Monday Musings, 30: "Challenging Authority and Holding Them Accountable"

We're conditioned to listen to and respect figures of authority (e.g. police officers, teachers, managers, bosses, etc). This type of thinking seems reasonable. Those who have accomplished a lot or have the noble task of protecting, serving, educating, and leading others should be given a great deal of admiration. However, what comes with respect for authority is a hesitancy to hold them accountable and challenge them when necessary.

People in positions of authority are imperfect, just like the rest of us. Their imperfections can sometimes lead to bad behavior and bad decisions that can have negative effects on their subjects, When this happens, who holds them accountable? Who ensures that people in positions of authority act in the interests of their subjects? Who ensures that bad behavior and bad decisions don't go unchallenged and unnoticed? The people who are the subjects of authority.

For example, in a work environment, employees should feel empowered to challenge their managers when they make decisions that negatively affect the team. The whatever-they-say-goes mindset is one that we have to get away from. The best leaders and figures of authority don't operate in a tyrannical or dictatorial manner. The best leaders and figures of authority are open to being questioned and challenged. They understand and cherish the value of people's voices and encourage accountability on all levels.

As a subject of authority (which we all are in one way or another), it's our duty and right to challenge and hold authority accountable. Whether it's a CEO, manager, politician, police officer, or teacher, we are obligated to push boundaries to encourage authority to be better leaders. So don't be afraid to speak up for what you believe and know is right. At the end of the day, we're all on a leveled playing field.