Titles Don’t Matter (January 2013)

Titles don’t matter to true leaders.  True leaders do not lead from their title but rather by their actions. They lead by the decisions they make and how they make them. They lead by including others and by getting broad input. They embrace others who may disagree with them and seek to learn from their views.  They accept responsibility for both good and bad.  They delegate authority to act rather than tasks.  They help those around them learn and grow.  They surround themselves with the smartest people they can find and are not worried if they are not the smartest person in the room.  They are not afraid to admit their mistakes and learn from them.     

Whenever someone makes a decision and justifies the decision by reminding people that their title gives them the authority to make that decision, then one knows that they do not have the support of the organization.  They also are admitting that they have little confidence in their own decision if they have to use their title to back it up as opposed to making a compelling case based upon logic and the facts at hand. 

Please note that this is different than “the buck stops here” message.  All CEO’s know there are times that tough decisions need to be made and that the executive team is split.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a portion of an all company meeting of a client firm.  The leadership openly talked about both the successes and failures of the recent past.   When they discussed the successes, they were quick to share credit.   When the discussed the shortcomings, they were quick to take ownership and talk about what they leaned in the process. 

Another characteristic of leaders that I have noticed over the years is that they usually introduce themselves without a lot of fanfare. I once heard a company founder and president introduce himself by saying: “I’m with ABC Company”.  It was a very modest introduction given his role and ownership stake. I personally learned the value of this approach during my tenure at LensCrafters.  I had introduced myself as “one of the finance guys” to a new employee.   As I stepped into the next cubicle to talk to someone else, I could overhear the conversation that followed.  A long time employee laughed at the modesty of my introduction and went on to explain the scope of my team’s role in the company. It was a much more glowing description than I would have ever given myself. 

Titles don’t bequeath authority as many seem to think. True authority comes from leadership.   And titles are simply the acknowledgement that later follows. They are nice to have, but you certainly can’t rely on them to get the job done.  Whether you are a C-level executive or low man on the totem pole, think about how you demonstrate your leadership every day.  It has been said if even one person is following you, then you are a leader.  Think about why people follow your lead.

If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you.  Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to     For more information, visit www.homza.com

your cash is flowing.  know where.®    

Ken Homza   

Copyright @ 2013 Homza Consulting, Inc.


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