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Why People Cannot Let Go and Retire Gracefully

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Why People Cannot Let Go and Retire  Gracefully

Ratan Tata appointed Cyrus Mistry as the head of the Tata empire after extensive professional search. Narayan Murthy and his team appointed Vishal Sikka as the Head of Infosys bypassing senior executives. Mulayam Singh Yadav appointed his son Akhilesh Yadav the Chief Minister of UP when he himself could have enjoyed that position. And subsequently each of these stalwarts got into a public spat with their appointees, accusing them in the media and elsewhere of mismanagement, and tried to take back control.

I have often seen this desire among successful leaders to want to become Remote-controllers and to rule by proxy, without having the responsibility or answerability that a designation brings. And even after having gone through a rigorous and time consuming selection process, they are so unhappy eventually with their appointees that they want to take back their positions, undo whatever the successor had done, and start from square one. In many cases this process can be unpleasant, acrimonious, bitter.

I often wonder why such people cannot let go and retire gracefully, even if their successors are not doing things exactly the way they would want them to. What makes them hand over authority, keep monitoring from a distance, and again step in to make changes? In most cases age is catching up with them and the task of rebuilding is not an easy one.

I suppose we do not learn from nature how the old order gives way gracefully to the new and the cycle of fresh harvests and new blooms continue to make the world a better place.

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