In my role as a business leader, I often see that whenever I ask for feedback about my opinions at work, most of my peers tend to agree with my point of view. There are very few who challenge it or ask ‘why?’ From early on in our lives, it is deeply ingrained in our minds to concede to authority, even if our instinct says otherwise. This is especially true in India, where the ‘power distance’ is among the highest in the world. However, doing so not only undermines one’s perspective, but may also lead to ignoring one’s gut instinct, which more often than not points you in the right direction.

Delegating is very important for high-performing teams and organisations. It’s the most effective means to build the next line of leaders. Here we often talk about empowering employees in the organisation, encouraging them to share their thoughts, reach out to senior management or even their managers if they have any doubts/suggestions regarding company strategy. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to happen. More often than not, employees tend to ignore their instincts and follow fairly straitjacketed approaches in line with deliverables and expectations.

We must learn to trust our instincts and have faith in them. The question is: how do we begin this journey and transform our thought process?

Listen to your inner voice

In today’s hyper-rational world where everything is backed by data, I’m sure you ignore that tense feeling in your stomach, when you sense what’s happening around you is wrong. Don’t get me wrong here; data is an important tool to provide logical reasoning for any decision you make. However, that inner alarm system of your body is also important as I feel it is an accumulation of all your experiences. This alarm rings only when you make an effort to listen to it. I have sensed it many times while making decisions at work. I give myself a moment, pause and understand what’s going around. I ask myself: is this the only way I can go about a certain situation, or is there a better alternative? And then, the answer comes to me. It does not happen overnight but comes from experiences, interactions and most importantly, from being aware of things around you. Rather than blindly follow what you’ve been told at work, understand why it is happening. And if you don’t have the answer, ask for the reason behind it, and if possible, suggest a better way to go about it.   

Discuss your thoughts

Keeping your gut feeling to yourself won’t do any good. Discuss it with your colleagues and boss and share your thoughts. Understand the background; what others have to say about the situation; whether they are open to a different approach; whether it would require any further analysis; and whether it is worth diving deep into the situation. This discussion gives you an initial sense on the acceptability of your perspective helps you understand others’. I have always believed in discussing my thoughts and voicing my concerns. It not only helps you understand what others think, but may also give others a fresh perspective which they may not have thought of and can be explored further.    

Back your intuition

Just because your gut says something is wrong or there is a better way to handle a particular situation, it is not enough. It’s important to justify it appropriately as well. You need to provide others a substantial reason to believe that feeling. Figure out if there is any precedent or data which supports your position. Understand whether your thoughts are constructive or a mere inkling. You can accordingly take it ahead and portray your stand to your seniors or colleagues. This attitude not only makes you trust yourself and builds in confidence, but also instils faith amongst others who start believing in you. Most of the time, your instincts may lead to the right choice. Occasionally, they may not. I strongly believe that the more you learn about trusting your instincts, the more you will know how to tune them properly and use them aptly to make decisions. It’s only when you trust your inner voice and beliefs that you can empower yourself and make a difference.


  • Tapan Singhel

    MD & CEO

    Bajaj Allianz General Insurance

    Tapan Singhel has a rich experience in the insurance industry of more than 30 years. He has been with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance for over 20 years and is the Company’s MD & CEO for close to 10 years. He also chairs the CII National Committee on Insurance and Pensions. He has been the President of Indo-German Chamber of Commerce and is now a board member. Under his leadership, the company has emerged as one of the largest and the most profitable private general insurer in the country ensuring growth, profitability and customer-centricity. In Mr. Singhel’s decade long stint as the MD & CEO, the Company has achieved a cumulative underwriting profit of more than ₹ 350 crore, grew its revenue at a CAGR of 16 %, grew its net profit (PAT) at a CAGR of more than 30% with a double growth in solvency ratio from 156% to close to 350%. Customer obsession and passion to do good for the people are what drives Tapan and his success in the industry. A scientist by education, but insurer at heart he works towards making a difference in the lives of people in whatever little way he can. Tapan has not only transformed the company, but has also been a trendsetter in the insurance industry by always taking the first leap towards innovating to enhance the customer service standards. Under his able leadership, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has transformed the distribution of insurance by being the first company in the country to start Bancassurance. He also envisaged and implemented, Virtual Sales Office, which is a 100% digital office. Addressing customer worries is what drives him to ideate and implement innovative products and services. For instance, settling motor claims in a matter of minutes with the help of Motor OTS, taking care of new-age cyber risk through Bajaj Allianz Individual Cyber Safe Policy, industry’s first Pet Dog Insurance policy and introduction of Health Infinity, a health insurance policy with unlimited sum insured. His leadership has been recognized across the globe. He was honoured as the 'Personality of the Year' at Quantic’s BFSI Excellence Awards 2021, India Insurance Summit & Awards 2019, 22nd Asia Insurance Industry Awards 2018 and Indian Insurance Summit 2017. He was also awarded the title of Best CEO at Insurance Asia Awards and was recognized as the Most Promising Business Leaders of Asia 2018 by The Economic Times. By always imbibing the principle of empathy towards customers and employees, he has been instrumental in the organisation being recognised on various forums. To name a few, Best Digital Insurer in Asia for IDC Financial Insights Innovation Awards 2021, Non-Life Insurer Provider of the Year by Outlook Money Awards 2020, Best Motor Insurance Provider of the Year at the prestigious Business Today-Money Today Financial Services Awards 2021. The Company has also won the coveted Porter Prize award under the category of Creating Distinct Value in 2019. Tapan is known for his ‘Communicative Leadership’ style, where he believes in engaging regularly with employees and customers through social media.