Job Titles Can Open Doors

Job titles don’t occupy much space - whether they’re on a business card, an email signature, a name plaque or someone’s LinkedIn profile. However, they have a tremendous impact on the identity of a person, what they can do and what the world around them expects from them. Though businesses are increasingly embracing alternative management practices, people will still covet hard-won top-level management positions and C-suite titles.  

Those few words, describing what a person does, have an enormous effect on their egos, their job satisfaction, and purpose in life. Simply put, titles are short, albeit powerful, identities that people chisel for themselves over years spent climbing the corporate ladder. But titles aren’t made equally and neither are they equally efficient. Generally speaking, the efficiency of something - both tangible and intangible, is contingent upon not just its capacity to get things done, but also upon how quickly it can get results. In that sense, traditional C-suite titles are obviously more efficient than titles several rungs below on the corporate ladder.

Who’s email will you Read? The Directors or the Interns?

For instance, an email from the Director of Marketing is more likely to be read and responded to, than an email sent out by an intern in the marketing department. Even if the contents of both emails are the same, it’s the more impressive title that evokes a response. Now imagine a world where it’s okay to (sensibly) use different titles to open doors and create new opportunities. Sounds impossible? Hear us out.

Your Job Title can Empower you

Job titles have an inherent value that conventional organizations tend to reserve for a select few. If you strip them down to the basics, titles have no impact on company costs. Yet, they have the capacity to psychologically impact the people who hold them. Helping people re-title themselves creatively, within the context of whatever makes common sense, is a great way to increase their engagement at work. You can boost their confidence at the same time as reaching out to external stakeholders. Most importantly, it helps open new opportunities for the company because it helps even low-level employees to project themselves favorably to the external world. An effective title can help them catalyze connections they’ve been struggling to make. So, why not?

Using Job Titles as Leverage

Semco abolished all formal titles internally but it also understood the kind of power titles could wield in the world outside. While Semco employees preferred to be known for the work they did, rather than the titles they held, they did choose titles which helped them open new doors in the outside world. As long as these self-assigned titles were within the realms of common sense and weren’t too far-fetched, they were encouraged at Semco.

Therefore, it was quite common for interns to sign off as analysts. Or, for employees with years of experience (but no top-management title) to sign off as the heads of their department or field. It was also quite common for people to have more than one title, which they used according to the context.

One particular Semco engineer, Guilherme Gusson, at one time, had two different email signatures. He would switch between them according to the stakeholder he was dealing with. For instance, when he was emailing high-level executives in other companies, he would sign off as ‘Head Of Engineering’. However, internally he didn’t have any title and signed off on all internal emails with just his name and department.

The Future is Full of Possibility

Job titles are an important aspect of business for forward-thinking companies to consider. A company doesn’t need to restrict themselves to a rigid structure because they have always done things in a particular way. In the modern world, we can challenge the norm and try something new. By giving logical flexibility to your employee’s job titles you can empower them to open doors, as well as improving employee confidence. Now, just imagine, what your new job title could do for you?

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