The Lower Decks Are Never Wrong

In the days of fighting sail, England’s Royal Navy had a saying:  “The lower decks are never wrong.”  By that they meant that if the common sailor rejected the authority of an officer placed above them, they were correct in their judgment (but still liable for hanging).

The reason for this is the same for any leader then or now:  it’s relatively easy to fool people that you report to.  You can make nice looking reports, spin stories to your advantage and generally suck up.  But it’s tough or impossible to fool people who report to you or that are your lateral colleagues.  They almost always know the truth about your performance.

So next time you hear rumblings from the lower decks, pay attention to them and find out what’s really going on, because most often there’s at least some truth to what they’re saying.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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