What?s in a job ?title??

And are we relying on it to get things done?

Once upon a time your job ?title?, as a leader, gave you immediate authority, respect and credibility. Today your job title generally determines your salary and where you fit into an organisational structure ? but not a lot more.

So it?s interesting that many new leaders, in the absence of coaching and guidance, use their ?title? to get things done. Making comments like ?well I?m the boss and you need to do what I say? are not uncommon. In particular, I see this when things aren?t going in the right direction and the leader feels like there?s no other option.

I once coached a woman, who was brand new to her role, and frustrated because one of her staff wasn?t doing what she wanted him to do. She said he had an ?issue with authority?, ?didn?t like reporting to a woman? and needed to be ?put in his place?. She was relying on her ?title? to gain his respect and meeting significant resistance because of it.

Aside from using her ?title? and position of authority she didn?t know what else to do – so I made a few suggestions which included:

  • Ignore your title ? pretend like you are peers and rely on influence to achieve outcomes instead of authority
  • Step out of your bubble ? and see things from their perspective (what challenges is he facing, does he understand the ?why? behind your decisions, etc)
  • Get to know him ? find out what makes him light up, what makes him come to work in the morning, what will keep him coming to work in the future
  • Show him the way ? let him know you are there to support him and help him succeed
  • Earn his respect ? make sure what you?re saying and what you?re doing align ? be careful not to contradict yourself
  • Don?t be so serious ? you?re still the same person (despite your title) so enjoy your role

For my client, making these changes improved her situation immediately. She learnt that using her ?title? was damaging to the culture of her team and very short sighted. She now has comfort in knowing her team will be advocating for your success instead of hoping for her failure.

If you?d like more ideas on becoming influential, even if you don?t have the ?title? then take a read of this article by the Creative Group, How to Show Your Leadership Skills (When You?re Not the Boss). They give seven tips on influencing outcomes and believe ?there are many ways you can show your boss and colleagues that you?ve got what it takes to be a leader and earn their respect?.

I?d love to hear your thoughts on this article ? what are the challenges you are facing and does this help to solve them?


I am a passionate leader with a keen focus on creating dynamic team environments through adaptable leadership. I am a?leadership coach, trainer, facilitator, mentor and speaker who ignites vision and purpose in those she works with.?

If you?d like to know more about my?program ?Creating Dynamic Teams? please drop me?an email shelley@shelleyflett.com.

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