Forget the titles

How many hats do you wear during the cut and thrust of everyday. Interestingly you may define your role by your job description but in reality that may cover a multitude of sins. 

Similarly, within your organisation you may give people titles based on generally accepted words used throughout commerce like Director, Manager or Supervisor. 

Sometimes titles are awarded to long service employees for their loyalty and service. A powerful job title and smart car on the drive can do wonders for someone’s self esteem. However, the title does not reflect the role that person actually carries out. At some point you may want to formalise roles and responsibilities but still baulk at upsetting this group so arrive at a fudge or compromise.

Unbalanced organisation charts are then created to shoehorn in these honorary titles. Communication and lines of responsibility come under pressure as the company grows with these weak links becoming exposed. The short term expediency to avoid possible confrontation will come back to haunt you at some point in the future.

Draw up the organisation chart that will be needed when the business is finished. Write up Job Descriptions for every role whether or not you have someone currently occupying that role. View the current organisation and fit the person to the role. You will probably need to combine two, three, four or more roles to reflect the number of people in the business.

In  Chapter 9 of ‘The Levels’ I introduced the changes in mindset required by the business owner to successfully transition from a Level 1 business to a Level 4 business and beyond.

I gave each Level of Leadership a name, a hat label so let me quickly summarise the levels

Level 1-   Worker 

Level 2-   Supervisor

Level 3-   Manager 

Level 4-   Leader or Director

Level 5-   Owner

The downside with these descriptions is that they are all nouns that everyone will attach their own meanings based on their own beliefs and perhaps education. The interesting thing is that over the years the job titles attached to functions within a business have become muddled.

Firstly, let me repeat that they are all nouns. Now I don’t want to take you back to those dark school days of tedious English Language. All we need to remember is that a noun is a name like tree or boat it just 

The reason I chose these nouns is that behind each is a verb which describes an activity or action. So the action or activity of 

  • a worker is to work; 
  • a supervisor is to supervise; 
  • a manager is to manage; 
  • a leader is to lead; 
  • a director is to director 
  • an owner is to own. 

It is the activity or action that is important not the title. 

However, over the years I have met so many Directors who do not direct they i.e. they give no direction or Managers who supervise who give no management.

So forget the fancy title you have given yourself or others in your company. It’s the activity that you most commonly do that defines the Level of Leadership.

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