Skip to main content

When in doubt, delegate.

Almost everyone I know is concerned if not obsessed with being happy. So I amuse myself by asking people various questions about happiness.

A popular question is,  "At which time in your professional life did you feel the happiest?". Most respond that they were happiest at the beginning of their careers or when they were mere trainees.

This seems strange. How can anyone be happy when as the junior most person you have people walking all over you, the workload back breaking, and you have so little money in the pocket?

This contradiction I ascribe to youth, which is identified by a carefree demeanour, optimism, boundless energy, good health etc. The greatest reason is lack of any real personal and professional responsibility.

As we progress in our careers, most of us emulate the hamster on the wheel in the laboratory. We run, run and run,  snatching moments of  joy and relaxation, endeavouring to  achieve real personal development whenever possible, even if it comes in bits and pieces.

Often realizing a bad  bargain, the nearer we reach our material goals of status, power, money etc, the further we distance ourselves from the real person within us. .

Survival instinct compels us to become competitive. Be it socially, financially or professionally, people strive to rise to the top of the pyramid. However once we reach the top of our chosen mountain we find it is kind of lonely. The king cannot have friends but only dependants.

Getting to the top does wonders for our ego, we are full of ourselves, acquire a halo and several mistaken notions about ourselves. Suddenly it dawns on us that it is not so much fun being near the top. Yet it is quite unlikely that we will relinquish the top turf, which we have so painstakingly acquired.

One of the greatest thieves of our peace of mind at the top is, having to make decisions particularly difficult ones. When at the top we are burdened by the fear of the adverse consequences  of our decisions. In addition there is the persistent suspicion of having been manipulated by those around us which might result in loss of money or position not to mention the embarrassment to our fragile egos.

I should know I too was a beneficiary and victim of the same set of circumstances.

Difficult decisions are the privilege of rank.

What then is the solution?
Good management and better people.

Whenever possible delegate!
This may sound a tad dangerous, but if implemented with due planning and sincerity it inevitably works.

Delegation also works wonderfully if you are bureaucratic in your approach.  If you are scared that no responsibility for any mistake falls on you then here is a golden rule 'when in doubt, delegate'. Many officers and managers do this, take the credit for the success pin the blame on their  juniors (to whom the work was delegated) in case of a mishap or unsatisfactory result.

With the continuous explosion of knowledge it is impossible for an individual to be the best in every field.  Wise leaders always gets people smarter than themselves to function in a particular area while they themselves look how best to integrate the contribution of the individual team members.

You will know you have got it right when you observe that the final output greatly exceeds the sum of the individual parts.


  1. i agree with you, especially with the first half of your post. good one

    1. Thank you for your response and appreciation.
      Please feel free to make suggestions or comment on other postings too.




Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Last thoughts and words of Emperor Aurangzeb

The 6th Mughal emperor of India, Aurangzeb was a brave but cruel man. While he was an excellent military leader, he was a weak administrator with poor understanding of economics. As a result he landed up being dependent on corrupt, fanatical people who only hungered for power and wealth.

Aurangzeb's lust for power was insatiable. In this quest he spared no one, imprisoning his own father, and slaughtering his brothers and nephews. He inherited an expanding empire which permitted him to rule the largest area of the Mughal empire's history, before he led it into decline. 

He felt that his actions had probably made him repugnant to the people and his legitimacy to rule would always be questioned. So he adopted a frugal life style and tried to be a good Muslim to appease the powerful clerics, soldiers, noblemen and the muslim public, which would allow him to rule effectively.

Like many other misguided men he came to believed that Islam meant only violent, subjugation and persecution.…

The Lopez Effect

Every now & then things get tough for a lot of organisations. This may be caused by technology, competition, recession or whatever. When the nasty stuff hits the fan, this is what typically happens at large organisations;

The CMD (Chairman & Managing Director) will call a meeting and scream and rant on how useless and lazy his entire management team is and how they have let the organisation's profitability slide. blah, blah, blah!!!!

The boss desperately searches for a scapegoat. Sometimes sacrificial lambs are found and a few heads roll and the situation only deteriorates because attacking people rather problems never helps. Sometimes the boss realises the truth, that there is no one individual or department or function that can be specifically blamed except the boss himself.

After venting his ire, the boss will issue a diktat to the management team. "I want my organisation to return to high profitability so this is what the team is going to do. I want you to reduce…

The Ghosts of 1962

Lest we forget the war of 1962.
Understanding the Chinese invasion of India and the aftermath.

In late 1940s two sleeping giants began to stir awake. 
Barring the gruesome partition, modern democratic India had a peaceful birth in 1947. Nehru the Indian prime minister therefore believed, power came from eloquence, amity and diplomacy. 

China (PRC) on the other hand had a very violent birth in 1949, hence Mao Tse-tung held the belief that power came from the barrel of a gun. 

Nehru fancied himself as becoming a world leader. He wanted India and China to partner together, to create a third pole that would not be aligned to either American led West Capitalistic block nor the Soviet led Communist block. In pursuit of this dream he stooped and pampered China to no end. He fawned over China and also rued that he did not have the type of committed cadre that Mao had.

This approach did not go down well with the Americans nor the Russians, who wanted to retain their global preeminence. They both wan…