I recently bumped into a retired manager in a mall, and this guy cut a lonely desperate figure. He was hunched, looked frail and nowhere near his erstwhile upright boastful self. This got me reflecting on the organization and the types of people we encounter.
A lot of organizational grievances emerge because people use their rank and, ultimately, power to coerce and intimidate others. These people may be in positions of power but are actually nominal leaders, as they are not providing direction and/or leading anybody. They are actually irrelevant people causing problems unnecessarily. They do not see the impermanence of titles. What is the value of titles when you add no value to the organization, are generally disliked, or when you are lying ill in bed?
People with fancy titles may be pompous/aloof and craving to be acknowledged, but within the organization, they make no impact. It’s the informal workers that make things happen. It is a pity that most leaders do not even know that they are not the real leaders. A common trend is for these nominal leaders to surround themselves with “their” type of people who, inadvertently, support their views. These mostly incompetent people make themselves important and some through sheer luck retain these titles until they retire not having lived life to the fullest. The challenge is for these people to be told in no uncertain terms about their conduct and to be developed to a level of understanding and competence that is within the standard set in the organisation. Failure to correct and prevent this type of behaviour may result in these individuals striving to be popular in the organisation without adding any value.