Hierarchy of our work

  1. Do exactly what is ordered
  2. Verify what is ordered
  3. Question what is ordered
  4. Request what should be ordered
  5. Implement directives
  6. Initiate procedures
  7. Delegate to others
  8. Prescribe orders
  9. Lead change

So many of us struggle with not having the authority or power to make certain decisions in our work. Authority is scarce, and that’s what makes it valuable.

I think there’s an even rarer, more valuable alternative to authority: taking responsibility.

Taking responsibility is about deciding that something isn’t quite right about your job, your role, your workplace, or the health care system – and changing it. 

Taking responsibility begins with changing something small, something that doesn’t need someone’s authority or permission, like organizing a potluck, hosting a small-group learning session, forming a new committee at work, or leading yoga classes with your coworkers.

And then finding something else to change, and doing it again, and again and again until you’ve earned the privilege and trust to create the bigger changes you seek.

You don’t need to go back to school or become certified to have more authority, or get better pay.

And you don’t need your boss’s permission, either.

You just need to decide, and be willing to accept the responsibility of fixing smaller problems along the way to achieving the future you want to see.