Would people follow you if you didn’t have a title?
3 January 2022
As the holidays end, we are re-entering our roles and routines at work. Many of us are transitioning from making cookies to analyzing year-end numbers. Or something like that.
On holiday, we don’t spend as much time in our work relationships as we usually do. The week after New Year’s typically starts a return to that usual, and a large part of our return to work is the interpersonal energy, connections and demands in our work relationships – particularly between employees and leaders.
The employee-leader relationship is often theoretically based on each person’s title and the “official” org chart. The Assistant Woodchuck reports to the Senior Woodchuck, who reports to the Director of Woodchucks, etc.
Titles are significant in many ways – they efficiently indicate to people inside and outside the organization what you do and what your responsibilities are, much like rank on soldier’s uniforms. Titles also often help a business organize salaries, benefits and allocate work space, and they often are similar from business to business. However, titles have limitations and often don’t represent exactly how a business operates.
So ask yourself this as you return to work: if you are a leader, and employees report to you, would people still follow you if you had no title?
We are more likely to learn more about ourselves by asking this question this week. Why? Most of us just spent time during which the work relationship was – at the least – in the background, and the contrast between holiday and work gives us a clearer picture of our relationships as leaders.
If we see our relationships more clearly, we can learn more about ourselves and understanding leads to improvement, which betters business performance and the satisfaction and engagement of everyone you work with.
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