Taking Yourself Seriously

Job titles can be a contentious area in organisations, whether people feel they make people too status conscious, or whether they feel titles provide a clear signal to colleagues about the structure and hierarchy they matter to individuals.

An interesting trend is for people to choose their own titles, whether from a set of HR approved options or completely without restriction. This can be revealing as the titles people choose for themselves give an insight into how they view themselves and their role. A salesperson that chooses a title of Relationship Manager has a different perspective on the role than a New Business Manager. Someone in Customer Services who calls themselves an Administration Assistant sees their responsibilities differently to someone choosing to call themselves a Customer Champion.

If a comic book store employee chooses to call themselves Lord High Emperor of Checkout it’s mildly amusing. If a theme park employee wants to be a Fun Manager that’s probably acceptable to colleagues and customers alike, but the impact on customer perceptions of job titles is an important consideration in the free choice of titles.

Customer Service Prince is fun in a shop aimed at pre-teens, but less well received at a hotel reception when your booking has been replaced. People are more likely to take a Personal Banking Executive seriously, and feel that that Executive will take good care of their finance than the more whimsical Money Wizard, which may sound like a lot of fun right up to the point when you want to speak to their supervisor before signing any documentation that will affect your future.

Job titles may reflect an individual’s personality and that of their employer, but they also need to signal their worth to customers.