Boss, Go On Vacation To Give Your Deputies Room To Show-case

Tom Kamaliki | 10th August 2020

Career Development
Boss, Go On Vacation To Give Your Deputies Room To Show-case

Boss, Go On Vacation To Give Your Deputies Room To Show-case

Tom Kamaliki | 10th August 2020

Career Development

Taking a vacation promotes good physical and mental health in the workplace and improves people's work-life balance, which reduces stress.


 Once upon a time, I worked in an organization where the head of a certain section and some of his staff were always forfeiting their vacation days. Those were early years in my HR career. We in HR became suspicious because the unit that they served entailed dealing with money and the public. Some of them were not even taking courses to advance their careers because this entailed the promotion and perhaps transfers. However, at one time, the Senior Management decided to overhaul most departments and units. Immediately, we began to see leave applications flying right, left, and center. Surely?



However, my point is that most of us in senior positions have intentionally failed to go on vacation because of the fear of how good and even excellent our juniors will perform in our absence. This has even made some of us not to develop skills in our deputies because we always want to have excuses not to give our subordinates a chance to show-case. At one point I sneered at my fellow SMT member during an SMT meeting when she shamelessly said that she was not comfortable being away for a week because she was not sure how her deputy would run the department in her absence. Of course, this was not true because everyone knew her deputy as a smart worker. Unfortunately, if my fellow SMT member happened to take leave, hardly more than three days would go by before she’d be bombarded by telephone calls and emails, some copied to me ‘in-the-know’ on some follow-up issues. One would wonder if she was on leave or working from home! By then working from home was not a popular concept as it is today during COVID. I cannot recall a time when I went on leave and called my deputy to find out how work is going on. My happiness has been that my deputies work excellently in my absence to prove my leadership skills as a mentor and a trainer.


There is no secret I have hidden my deputies in line of duty. There is even some recruitment, I declined to get involved in but delegated to them. It was purely their show to run and prove themselves, which they did. They could only join me when recruiting senior management levels so that they understand what happens when recruiting senior managers and directors. This is how an eagle trains her chicks how to fly if at all we have watched the clip of the Wild! I even went to an extent of recommending financial sponsorship for the Administrative Assistant-Front Office for Higher Diploma in HR & Bachelors in HR, after which I began to involve her in the recruitment process in the Board room for junior positions. When I was doing my Ph.D. course work, I recommended my deputy for financial sponsorship for an MBA. One of my fellow HOD’s jokingly asked me, ‘don’t you think your deputy will take over from you? My response was, ‘why not?’. Surely, if we prepare our deputies and other employees in our respective departments in such a manner and even more, will we not have room to take our vacations in peace? Won't we leave a mark in some people’s lives? Won't we leave behind a big legacy? I recall a time I scheduled a serious talk with the secretary in the HR & Admin department that I headed in one of the organizations.


The talk revolved around changing her career and going for Higher Diploma in HR since secretarial careers were becoming obsolete and most organizations were phasing them off. Violet looked at me as if I were speaking in tongues like the Apostles during the day of Pentecost. She stared at me and there was some silence in the board room where the meeting was taking place.


The stare was because all along, she had known secretarial as her career- for 10 years by then. How was she going to adapt? At long last Violet enrolled for the Higher Diploma course at IHRM and since I was a part-time lecturer in HR, I became her tutor. After finishing the course, the position of HR Assistant was waiting for her on a silver platter. As I am talking now, Violet is pursuing her Ph.D. in HR and has really grown in the HR field. The Apostolic tongue I spoke to has become a reality. If we upscale our deputies' and other employees' skills in good faith, why should we not take leave and relax knowing very well that we have soldiers in the department to carry our flags high?


The author is an HR Generalist at the Director level with Consulting skills having over 10 years in Senior Management.

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