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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Delegation At Work Place

Dear Amitji,

“.. delegation is a good sounding managerial substance .. which each head of department understands .. its execution though is personal and individual .. delegation is easy … following up on that which has been delegated, comes back to the individual .. it needs and requires monitoring .. so who does it ..?” (DAY - 3057)

Sir, you are absolutely right, especially - ‘its execution though is personal and individual.’ As we all working in corporate sector or having worked in it know that delegation occurs when a manager assigns some of his duties and responsibilities to his subordinates. In addition to removing some of the burden from the manager's shoulders and allowing him to focus on his most important duties, delegating can also provide subordinates with a sense of empowerment. However, what actually happens is that often when managers think that they are delegating tasks to employees, they are merely dumping tasks on people to make their own corporate career more comfortable. I give you an example from my own personal experience and observation while working in just my very first job in Godrej:

On the first day of my working there, the Manager introduced me to the senior staff like the assistant manager, accountant and salesmen, leaving me to meet others working in the office and know them while introducing myself. After meeting about a dozen of them, like cashier, sales assistants, typists, dispatcher etc., when I went to the last person present, typing some document, I introduced myself and asked him what was he in the organisation. “I’m the Doer”, he answered as a matter of fact but I was very surprised as I had never heard of this designation existing in any office. On my request he elaborated on his reply, “the manager assigns some task to the assistant manager, who assigns the same task to supervisor, who calls me and asks me to do that task immediately and efficiently, and thus I’m ultimately the doer of the task. This is invariably the position everyday, so I have self designated myself as the Doer. This simple looking middle aged employee was addressed as Masterji, whatever his name may be. Could be, he was a teacher before he joined the company as a clerk. Years passed by and I was in a position to select a steno-typist for myself from amongst the typists already working there and I immediately made my preference known to the manager which he granted without a second thought. Masterji became my steno-typist, happy to be free from the tedious task of doing duties of the Doer.
Sir, some more years passed in the company, and I come across another example of delegation of duty, to put it correctly, delegation of responsibility at the workplace that directly involved me. My manager, who appointed me a decade ago and under whom I learnt basics of business management, a lot more than what I learnt doing 3-years MBA course at the prestigious Department of Business Management at Delhi University, was promoted as General Manager at the company’s headquarters in Mumbai. The new manager took over at the Delhi branch, strangely no Parsi official promoted from Mumbai office, but a local person of Bengali origin, a first time in the Parsi company.  Turned out because he had a very high connection - brother of Home Secretary, Government of India. Shows another aspect of private sector in India. A smart executive, he took no time to find out that I was the blue eyed boy of the earlier manager, who often delegated to me important responsibilities. He too followed suit and started giving me great responsibilities, but in his own individual way - taking all the credit for the work well done and holding me responsible if the results were not to the satisfaction of Head Office. It is common, especially in corporate sector - bouquets for the manager and brickbats for the juniors. But what was different here is while he would delegate to me to attend very important meetings with high government officials for grant of contracts, he himself would be away from office, relaxing at the Gymkhana Club, presumably improving public relations for the benefit of the company!         

Leave aside my personal experience of delegation in my company, there is no doubt that Managers need to delegate because they are not supposed to do all of the work themselves.
They are responsible for developing their employees to ensure that they are well trained, to identify future leaders, and to prepare their own successor when they move up or move on to other organizations. Delegating responsibility is a powerful statement to employees about how much they are trusted and how competent and valued they are considered to be to the company.
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”  – John C. Maxwell, American author

With regards and best wishes

Tilak Rishi


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