The expression "initiative is punishable" is quite common. As a rule, it is used in an ironic sense. But not everyone understands that it is not so harmless if taken as a guide to action. About when it is most often said that the initiative is punishable, the meaning of these words and the authorship will be discussed in the article below.
In the army "better keep a low profile"
There is a version that originally this saying was born in the military environment and sounded a little different. "In the army, the initiative is punishable" - such is its proposed initial version. It's no secret that the military people attach great importance to the hierarchical structure of relationships. But this is correct. Indeed, without strict discipline, it will not work to defend the country.
But, as in any business, there is a flip side to the coin. Sometimes relationships of strict subordination do not allow a person who is lower in rank or position to show creativity and initiative. There are at least threeexplanations.
Three reasons to stay on the sidelines
Firstly, this may be prevented by the provisions of the charter, accidentally or intentionally going beyond which you can be held accountable. Secondly, a recruit or junior officer who is unsure of himself will try to “keep his head down” so as not to mess things up because of his incompetence and not get scolded by his superiors.
The third reason is the pressure of the authority of the chief, who believes that people who unquestioningly follow orders and do not interfere with their proposals should serve in the army. And if you really had to take the initiative and act according to it, then in case of failure there will be punishment, and in case of success - either silence or dissatisfaction of the superiors with excessive "protrusion" of one's own person by the subordinates.
It seems that here it would be appropriate to recall the words of Peter I that a subordinate, standing in the face of his boss, must look dashing and stupid so as not to embarrass him with his understanding. These words of the Russian emperor completely echo the expression "initiative is punishable", which directly follows from their meaning.
The opinion of Soviet engineers
There is another assumption - about how the engineers of the Soviet Union decided why the initiative was punishable. After all, they are also credited with the "invention" of this expression. As you know, the planned economy that existed in the USSR, along with all its numerous advantages, was characterized by suchcons, like excessive bureaucracy, regimentation, a certain amount of routine and slowness.
On the one hand, new beginnings were welcomed, and people who took the initiative were held in high esteem, awarded orders, medals and certificates. But not everything was so smooth. Having once succumbed to a creative impulse, in order to bring new ideas to life, it was necessary to overcome the very bureaucracy and routine. It was necessary to go through the authorities, to prove, to break through, but this was far from always possible. And having achieved the implementation of any project, it was necessary to accompany it until the result was obtained.
No financial incentive
There was another important point. In the USSR, every working person was guaranteed a monthly salary, even its delay for one day was ruled out in principle. But at the same time, the difference in wages could not be very large, whether it be a worker or a factory manager.
According to the statistics of that time, the second could not exceed the first by more than seven times. Unlike today's state of affairs, when there is simply a gigantic scale of stratification in society.
not be that tall. Therefore, the expression “initiative is punishable” appeared.execution.”
To act or not to act, that is the question
Does the expression we are considering and the conclusions that the military and engineers draw from it have a real basis? I think it's more likely yes than no. After all, traits such as prudence, prudence, caution are qualities necessary for a person to survive as a species, and are useful for a particular individual.
If, for example, in a market economy, working in a commercial firm, you start working at an “above average” level, then, of course, you can attract the attention of your superiors. But it is not a fact that this will be followed by a worthy reward, and not a banal increase in both the workload and the requirements. Often in such cases, the initiative is punishable.
But even in response to such "sober" reasoning, a lot of objections can be raised. There is a high probability that the company will appreciate a smart, purposeful employee who gives out original ideas. It is these people who make a successful career and at the same time benefit themselves, the company, and the whole society, despite certain risks and difficulties that they encounter along the way. There are their representatives in commerce, and in the army, and in the public service, of course, they were in the USSR.
I think there are a lot of them. Therefore, it seems that the saying about the negative consequences of the initiative should be treated with a certain amount of irony, but without forgetting about a reasonable approach to business.
The expression "Initiative is punishable": who is the author of the expression
The question of who exactly is the author of this common saying remains open. As mentioned above, her “composition” is attributed to such collective authors as military personnel and Soviet engineers. But there is another "applicant" who is credited with "creating" this expression. This is I.V. Stalin.
As you know, a lot of things are attributed to this historical figure that did not actually exist. Let's try to understand the punishability of the initiative. In order to assert or deny the fact that words belong to one or another person, one should refer to the documents.
On April 17, 1940, a meeting of the command staff of the Red Army was held, dedicated to summarizing the experience of military operations against Finland. I. V. Stalin spoke at it, who, among others, also touched upon the issue of the weak display of initiative by the soldiers of the Red Army in this campaign.
He talked about how the Soviet fighters lack initiative because they are not yet developed enough individually. Another reason is the poor training of the soldier, as a result of which he cannot take the initiative without knowing the matter. Therefore, his discipline is lame.
Based on the foregoing, Iosif Vissarionovich concluded that it is possible and necessary to create new fighters who will be developed, disciplined and proactive. Where is the pen alty here? As they say, comments are superfluous.