You wake up in the morning, take a shower, brush your teeth, make some coffee, say good bye to your kids, kiss your spouse, and head out to work. During your commute to work, you begin planning your day to maximize your time at work, and serve your team more effectively. With 3 one-hour meetings, 1 presentation to prepare for, 4 follow-up calls to make, and seemingly endless emails to respond to, your day quickly fills up before even getting to work. No worries here, you are a highly efficient and effective leader, able to handle issues as they arise.
Then it happens. Your boss give you another week’s worth of work that must be completed in the next few days. On top of that, your team’s regulatory training is due by the end of the week, your monthly reviews are scheduled for Thursday… the list goes on. How do you handle the growing list of tasks and responsibilities that must be accomplished in what appears to be an impossible amount of time? Staying late at the office is not really an option as you have your son’s baseball game tonight and your daughter’s dance recital the next night. You are family-oriented so missing these events is not an option.
What do you do? Enter the concept of selective disobedience.
Here is how this works. As the leader of your team, you are responsible for what they do and don’t do. When your boss (manager, supervisor, or leader) gives you a task, generally it does not mean you do it, rather that you are responsible for making sure it is completed. To get more done, you train, enable, and empower your team, then delegate, follow up, and follow through.
When you are given an excessive number of tasks, you have the choice of doing them all okay or doing some of them very well. The “do less better” concept from last week. If you choose the first, then you will be mediocre at many things. If you choose the latter, then you will be excellent at some things and short on others. But this does not mean you will never get everything done (although it does not mean you will either). You and your team may get all of your tasks done, just not exactly when originally wanted. This is selective disobedience.
As the leader of your team, you must prioritize all of your work, and complete the most important tasks first. However, when you commit to accomplishing one task, you are also committing to not complete another (at least not right away). You must selectively disobey in order to prioritize and accomplish the most important and impactful tasks and responsibilities of you and your team. There will likely be some repercussion such as a “talking to” from your boss, but if you do your job well, and your leadership understands and respects you, then they will expect you to employ appropriate selective disobedience”.
How have you employed selective disobedience lately? Do you think you have never employed selective disobedience? Think back to the time where you chose to be late for a meeting because of another task from your boss or dropping a child off at school. Did you miss the budget submission deadline for another presentation?
Do you have a supervisor that does not understand, respect, or trust you? If or when you selectively disobey, you experience extreme repercussions – being yelled at, adverse counseling, written up, suspended, etc. Stay tuned for next week’s post on how to handle disruptive managers.