Don’t Be a Title Fool

I’m seeing a trend from very title-heavy entities.

  • They’re fearful that people will leave if they don’t title them up.
  • They’re associating employee value in the titles they award. (The more valued the employee, the more impressive the title.)
  • They’re awarding bigger titles to retain specific employees.
  • They’re awarding bigger titles without an increase in pay. (A bigger title should be accompanied an increase in responsibilities and compensation.)

The Almighty Title

If you’re in the corporate world, you’re probably familiar with many of these layers:

  • Coordinator
  • Specialist
  • Senior Specialist
  • Manager
  • Senior Manager
  • Branch Manager
  • Super Branch Manager
  • Director
  • Double Director (I made that one up, but I bet it exists!)
  • VP
  • Senior VP
  • Executive VP
  • Executive Senior VP
  • CEO
  • CLO
  • CMO


Of course, it’s not just corporations caught up in the title craze. Here are some other real-life titles:

  • First Impressions Officer
  • Director of Chaos
  • Human Talent Manager
  • Upward Mobility Big Shot (You know this is a salesperson’s title!)
  • Social Media Ninja
  • Sales Rock Star
  • Happiness Advocate

What do these layers and layers of titles mean? Really, nothing but a false sense of security or a big ego.

The funny thing is the more titles and layers you have, the more challenges you will have with leading AND the more pressure you’ll have to add new titles to show career growth opportunities. It’s a slippery slope.

The Fewer Titles, The Better

Avoid defining your people by their titles. Instead, introduce people as leaders within their divisions. Rather than saying, “Sally is the Senior Director of Operations,” say, “Sally is a leader within our operations team and focuses on team performance.” Instead of saying “Mark is the Order Coordinator,” say “Mark is a leader within our operations team and focuses on order fulfillment.”

Let’s create layers of leaders and be real with our expertise instead of being slaves to our titles.

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