Running for "TITLES" should we?

I read it somewhere that we all dream to be at top however only some of us aim for it, whereas the main difference between dreaming and aiming is “Dreams require effortless sleep and Aim requires sleepless efforts”.
Fancy Titles always magnetize most of us. We as nascent professionals believe right after a few pats on the back that we are doing a great job and look for the next level very early in our professional career. What bothers me is the "Entitlement Attitude" which generally become an impediment in developing creativity and thought leadership. We must not compromise on building a strong foundation and ensure that our foundation is very strong and deep rooted. Once your foundation is strong and deep rooted with depth and breadth, your career success is guaranteed. You know to get an oil, you need to dig deep with depth and breadth, success in career is not very different.

We all are aware that to reach on Top, it requires minimum 10-15 years of your experience, then the questions arises as to why we worry so much about designations.  In India, this may be due to social recognition and peer pressure.

To take care of these requirements, HR Leaders are constrained to do further layering of 3 primary layers of the Organizational Pyramid which consist of Staff level constituting ~ 90-95% of total employees, Middle Management constituting another 4-7%  and only 2-3% of them make it to the top level. 

Broadly we can bracket the professional milestones / stages in three categories - There are overall ~ 25-30 attributes which an employee requires while progressing from Staff level to Top Management Level.  

Staff Level : At staff level the skills required primarily are MS Office, Interpersonal Skills, Technical skills, Team player, Integrity, Trust and Transparency, Prioritization, Data Management, Analytical Skills, Customer Management, Result Orientation etc.

Middle Management : At Middle Management,  Key skills required are Problem solving capabilities, Decision Making Skills, Conflict Resolution, Communication and influencing Skills, Team Handling, Resourcefulness, Ability to deal with Ambiguity,  Presentation skills, Coaching and Mentoring etc.

Top Management : At Top Management,  key skills required are Business Acumen, Commercial Savviness, Performance Management, Ability to Manage Chaos with positivity, Change Management, Risk Management, Managing Group Dynamics, Thought Leadership , Strategic Leadership, Executive Presence, Nose for Talent etc.

On an average, it takes 5-6 years to move from one stage to another. It’s desirable to have all requisite competencies in place and half glass full for next, before aspiring for the next management level.

It’s always easy to aspire/desire for the next level. How many of us do the introspection and think through whether we are ready for this or not. Most of the time our aspiration are the result of other people growth. It is important that we start competing with self rather than others, that certainly will help us create our own niche. It is not you, however, your peers and bosses who should talk great about your performance and perseverance. It is always better to deserve the position and not get it than to get it and not deserve for it.

Keep a hawk eye on your peer group as they are the one who will contribute quite a lot in making you successful. Always keep an unwavering focus on your work and know your peer group well. Healthy competition within the group is always good. It keeps you agile and on toes all the time. You can always learn from peers and improvise your working style if need be.

In our industry specially IT / ITES, we promote people for their operating skills and then give the career of let us say, 7-8 people in their hand, however, do not train them enough on people management skills and they keep doing what made them successful thus far i.e. Individual excellence and hence, the destiny of associates working under them is compromised. People also have an excessive focus on promotion / designation, hence, on their part they also do not make efforts to attain people management skills.

TRUST your Leadership. We stop trusting our Managers / Leaders when things are not going our way. Believe me guy's, time does come when you come across "Not so good Managers", however, basis my experiential learning's I must say they TEACHES you "WHAT NOT TO DO". In essence, Good Managers teaches you "What to Do" and Not So Good Managers teaches you "What Not to do". We must respect all the learning's and people responsible for providing them. I know 2/3 of us always feel that we are better than our managers, however, when reality bites, it hurts and we realize that we still need to get few notches to get there. It is imperative that you demonstrate patience and you will certainly obtain what you are aiming at.

We should get our learning's out of Tree which has deep embedded roots. Sincerity in professional approach, keeping commitments and relentless focus should be the hygiene. Trust me friends, there is no short cut to reaching at acme of success. You need to spend qualitative time at every stage of the professional career.

In my view, we should at all times look over and beyond titles and focus on competency building. Every job requires a certain set of skills, and it's much better to focus on skill development than be so bigoted as to focus just on job titles. Once you have requisite skills, you will get what you want to get. It’s an old saying “honest efforts never goes in vain".



  2. Anonymous6:27:00 AM

    I've enjoyed reading this. Very insightful. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Anonymous6:32:00 PM


  4. Anonymous7:33:00 PM

    I enjoyed this article.
    % of population distribution (Pyramid) gives insite as

    -These fewers can make or break the organisation.
    -Because of high uncertainty, their perks are heavy (One would not mind taking up this Top management for short span of few months :-))
    One month value (Top managers)=few years of staff level service.

  5. In this competitive environment, where cost leadership is essence of success after the recession period, what is your thought on appointing someone for any "Title" or "Role"?
    Is this only "experience" or "skill" required for the scaling up in pyramid? Cost does or does not matter? I appreciate your effort you put in this article but I believe with out explaining the "real time market environment" we can not justify the scenario of scaling up in the pyramid.

  6. @ Raj - Good article. Thanks for sharing.
    Rather than running behind the titles, one should focus on improving "Self-Worth"!

    Kind regards
    Varada Murthy

  7. Larchung T11:15:00 AM

    Really enjoyed reading the article. At the fundamental level lies critical points for introspection. Thanks Raj.

  8. A very good academic and professional feast. It has enriched my existing knowledge. I am also firm believer of ' first deserve and then dream'. I believe there is no substitute to hard work. The commitment, honesty, capacity building and belongingness to an organizations are foundations of one's success and scaling up in professional ladder. But, Raj, we live in a world dominated by corporate culture where this mantra is widely nurtured. However, there can not be denial that there may be some instances where favouritism, prejudice, biased attitude etc., overrides merit all parameters which we understand constitutes success mantra. Throughout my professional experience in government and corporate as well I have come across such paradoxes. Even then I am in complete agreement with you. It pains me when I find success mantras are different than what we nurture and preach.

  9. I fully endorse the views of Om Parkash and his insight.I have 30 years of experience in corporates and academic.The corporate culture is predominantly over ruled by the contemporary practices in the oganisation. The success of an organisation and individual depends on the culture and people management. The present scenario clearly depicts the rat race for the success due to Globalization.No short cut for success. Ultimately the success mantra is ATTITUDE of the individual.I strongly believe don't follow the titles,Title should follow you, if you substantially contribute for the growth of an organisation with visibility.

    Dr.Prof.V.Raghu Raman