What’s in a ‘title’?…..

We ask the question ‘what’s in a name’ …this implies deep thought about the greater meaning far beyond the first impression. Look at ‘what’s in a title’ like you would an iceberg, knowing that there is massive volume of meaning beneath the surface.

And why is this important? Give an individual a title and you have instantly given them an image. This poses some interesting circumstances.  Someone (or a group of someone’s), the organizations primary decision makers or possibly long ago chisled doctrine has dictated these labels to establish structure. The unfortunate piece of this plan is generally there is much planning for the business structure, and little consideration for the titles; they most likely are selected with conformance to “we’ve always done it that way”.  Trust me when I say the definitions of all these titles are based on individual interpretation whether there is a documented key to the titles or not.

1. manager- (true #1)

2. lead (shift, team, many variations)

3. leader (this one is highly ambiguous)

4. level 1,2,3,4 (based on a hierarchy seniority system)

5. supervisor

6. executive

The message of this post …If you have been knighted with a title are you performing to your potential, engaged in the work day or are you filling the perceived interpretations of it? Your own interpretation maybe? Trying to fit really round pegs in square holes based on your label?

There is a huge difference in a title versus a job role. For example, a ‘project manager’ is a pretty straightforward job role. We have some common industry smarts in what is they do. Remove the term ‘project’ and  basically we know that there should be recognizable biz intelligence and there is some flavor of authority.  Individuals can easily hide there strengths and weaknesses behind a title; they may be of rocket science mentality and they are managing the petty cash.

Why do we get so distracted and invested  in titles? Why not spend that energy from our image building in the building connections and level the playing field? Call everyone a manager; in essence everyone is managing and leading. Relationships will develop when the authoritative titles become less important than work that is being accomplished.

Just consider what this change has the power to do within the workplace. Work happier…






One thought on “What’s in a ‘title’?…..

  1. William Higgins says:

    Thanks Amy. What’s in a title? One does have to wonder. Hopefully, the people with the titles are doing the “title” work,, in some (or many) cases not. Titles evoke a leader-follower mentality, where the titled person is of the leader ilk. And, unfortunately, those “titled” sometimes let it go to their heads and think they are really privileged and know more and are wiser than the untitled. NOT SO!!

    A book that raises questions about the leader-follower approach to leadership is “Turn the Ship Around” by L. David Marquet, retired U.S. Navy captain. He captained a nuclear powered submarine and instituted a leader-leader mentality in his ship, and literally turned the worst performing boat around to become the best performing sub in the fleet.

    In his “titled” position, he influenced others to practice a forward-thinking approach to their work rather than a problem-solving approach, proactive vs. reactive. And he had results.

    May the “titled” be enablers and not barriers to performance. May they be encouragers and not discouragers to individual initiative. May they be rewarders and not thieves that rob you of productivity, self-esteem, and feelings of empowerment.

    Thanks Amy. Go forth and be! Titled or not!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s