When I first met my Inspector General of Police (IGP) after taking charge as Trivandrum Police Commissioner, he went on a rant.
He said, “I don’t know how the government posted you here and how you will handle such a tough assignment. This is really stupid. When I became commissioner, I had more than 15 yrs experience.”
In short, he predicted my failure in the very first meeting. To be fair, I had zero experience leading a city or even a district police.
Feeling dejected, I met my then DIG (Mr. A Hemachandran). He said, “Just ignore what people are saying – no point worrying about their opinion. Do your very best and it will be fine.”
Desperate to avoid a spectacular failure, I went all out to make sure that I did not blow it up. I would prepare meticulously for every law and order situation.
I spent three years in that role before having had enough and quitting the service. With complete honesty, I can say that I did a better job in the 1st year than in the 3rd, when I was a lot more experienced.
I am hesitant to generalize by saying that experience is overrated, though it sometimes is.
But one thing is definitely underrated: Giving people a chance to prove themselves without prejudging them.