When I saw this wonderful picture of  Mother Teresa it struck me how such an amazing person like her with her simplicity and the zeal with which she drove her vision and her team was an epitome of leadership. Everyone knew and respected her for who she was and even today her aura and the legacy she has left behind is so powerful. She did not need a title to command respect.


Flip that over to the real life corporate world in India and what one sees is just the opposite.


The hunger for titles as a status symbol and ego booster is so high that most of the organisations are just pandering to that ego and doling out titles by the dozen.


Just makes the job of their leaders and the recruiters easier when it comes to attracting talent from other organisations or trying to retain talent in this highly competitive world. It is not uncommon to see hundreds of  General Managers, Asst Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Creative Directors or Associate Directors, Directors …. in many of the  organisations across functions and roles.


But sadly in many organisations – big and small and now start ups ,  these leaders are not even ” really “considered as senior leadership in the internal scheme of things such that they  can actually decide on policies or be empowered enough to take key investment or headcount decisions.


They are usually an important cog in the wheel who take the bulk of the operational pressures of managing deliveries, business operations and managing large teams and work crazy, stressful schedules. Yet mostly the major decision making control remains with their leaders or with the global teams.


It is interesting how so many MNCs have totally different designations for other operations across the world and for India. If that is not pandering what is it ? Indian companies have also happily joined this bandwagon. After all who would want to join or leave for a smaller title ?


The titles here(much bigger) and the packages (much smaller though ) relatively are safety belts the organisations use to try and retain key operational and functional talent  from being poached.


Now being able, over the last 6 years , to step back from the rat race, and take an unbiased view as a Mentor, Coach, Interviewer or a Leadership workshop facilitator, the gaps are at times so glaring when it comes to seeing  the leadership qualities, behaviours and styles displayed vis a vis what one would expect from leaders at this level….or atleast with such titles.


I never miss an opportunity to talk  about these at my workshops or speaker or Coaching opportunities and urge these leaders to invest time in their self assessment and development and live up to their titles or the expectations of the teams below, around and above them.


HR leaders, L &D Heads, CEOs  and Presidents will be doing justice as visionary leaders when they invest more time and energy into building High Performance behaviours in their  leadership pipeline which focus on building their  Thinking, Developmental, Inspirational, Achieving and Adaptive behaviors. The gaps in many cases are HUGE !


And when all organisations offer similar fancy titles the whole usp of attracting or retaining talent with this name game goes up in smoke. That is when the true leaders will stand out from the crowd and make the cut to the next level. And the others will sadly tend to be stuck where they are. And keep frustratingly waiting for their next, elusive career break .. or just accept status quo and live with it. This can drain organisations of the much needed mojo and drive needed.


Fancy titles do not a true leader make – it is these High Performance leadership behaviours and styles … and values that do.


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