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Do Titles Matter?

During a discussion with the leadership class I’m teaching, the subject of job titles came up, resulting in a lively exchange.  Some opinions were that titles do not matter and are “over-rated”; for others, titles are important and strived for.  Recent studies on the subject are finding that a good majority of employees – up to 68% – stated that they would take a job promotion without the pay in order to have the title.  The conclusion is that if employees want to advance in their career, the job title will enhance their opportunities.  If you aspire to be a Director, it is beneficial to have Director experience but the title helps you get noticed and stand out.

Of course, not all titles equate in the same way as different organizations have different ways of classifying, and naming, positions.  For instance, I have a friend who is a VP in their company but their title is actually Manager.  Would this equate to a higher level if the Manager title is on their resume, when a Director or Vice President title is the one being staffed?  In this day and age where software is being used to scan resumes to see if they are a “fit” for an open position, the actual title would get picked up faster than if not.

But another aspect about titles is if there is a “fit” between the way a person behaves and the title.  I have heard from numerous people I deal with who feel that their boss does not act like a manager, supervisor, director, CEO or the like.  Having a title is something to be earned; but there is a also a necessity to step into the role itself.  That means directing, leading, persuading, communicating, problem-solving, vision-sharing, empowering and coaching; these are the skills – though not inclusive- of skills a leader needs to have.  In the end, titles do matter.  What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your stories.

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