What’s in a title?

We stood in a circle like we always do. At the turn of the hour, the stand up meeting commenced. We each clearly stated what we had done, what we had left and impediments if any. As is the rule, when everyone who had a stake in that release had their say, the floor was left open for others to speak up. Speak up they did, raising issues and trading notes.

My place is a corner of the room. Unobtrusive. My eyes scan the faces picking up on non verbal cues. I love watching people as the spotlight turns on them. It happened again. That thing that struck out to me yesterday. I brushed it off as a one-off occasion then.

The person speaking stood a tad taller. His voice came out assertive. He owned the room. For a little bit anyway. He seemed cocky even.

I smiled a little awed by the transformation happening in front of me. In the week since his title changed, I saw the team-mate go from behind the scenes to some one who took charge. Some one who usually stood detached from the proceedings now watched each conversation like a hawk, picking up on small details, reading in between the lines and offering to spearhead follow ups.

I walk back to my desk deep in thought. Here right in front of me was a lesson in managing people. Some leaders are born. Some grow into those roles. What is in a title? Turns out, quite a bit!

4 comments

  1. Exactly. I notice it in my kid – No amount of my telling her that she is good in something matters. The moment she sees a high grade or an award or a medal, she stands a few inches taller. I am amazed at the transformation too.
    Much as wisdom tells us that secondary recognition (including titles) does not matter, in reality, they do.

  2. a whole lot..

    with every title/role comes a responsibility and accountability. That triggers behaviours.

    didn’t our behaviour/thinking change when we assumed the Parent role?

    to me, recognition is not secondary

  3. Good for him. I mean it must not be easy to be viewed by others in a certain way and then having to rise up to the title and behave differently the next day. Personally speaking, it would have been a tough transition for me.

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