Head of institutes or associations should avoid chairing routine meetings

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Dr KK Aggarwal

Some days back I attended a function, where Prof NK Ganguly, Former Director General (ICMR) also spoke.

He said something very interesting. He said that he tried to avoid chairing committee meetings as the head of the organization unless absolutely required to do so.

“I preferred constituting expert committees instead as I can’t be an expert in all fields.” The reasoning behind this approach is clear. If the head of the institution is chairing an expert committee meeting, all those attending the meeting hesitate to speak up and they tend to defer to the views of the institute head. “I want their views, not just my views,” he said.

It was a lesson for me. At IMA we have different committees, each with different assigned functions such as family welfare, medical education, medical ethics, anti-quackery, rural health and national plans, to name a few and each with a designated Chair.

As National President, I have been chairing many meetings and now I personally feel that this may not always be the right way to look for ways to solve a problem or any issue.

The more junior staff tend to defer to the Chair or more senior colleagues. The right way to do it is to involve experts. This is what we routinely follow in standing committees for finance and building.

Diversity of ideas, even if dissenting views, can change the way we think.

Brainstorming or ideas and viewpoints gathered from a group of people give different perspectives, different interpretations of any given situation and different ways of solving that particular situation. Diversity leads to creative and innovative thinking as ideas that come up are often original in thought.

In the remaining term of my tenure, this is what I will try to do i.e. chair fewer meetings and attempt to gather more wide ranging ideas by letting experts take the chair and tap into their knowledge for the benefit of the Association and in turn the fraternity as well as the community.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are entirely my own and do not represent in any way the official stand of the IMA.