Saturday, June 22, 2013

What is more Respected: Job Title or Job Responsibility?

There is a blend of multiple elements to get respected, some are hard competencies; some are soft leadership touches. 

Ideally, job title and job responsibility should match to reflect one's professional reputation both inside-out and outside in. 

A good title is like nice suit, does bring some first impressions. However, an effective leader takes more than title to get respected and make positive influence.


1. What Gets More Respected

What is more respected, inside the company, it maybe the responsibility, while outside, it’s perhaps title. In the long run both external and internal entities will respect the person who make influence and gets results. That often depends on your power base and responsibilities

  • There are three powers either as visible or invisible hands in organization: Structural power (position with the organizational hierarchy), expert power (business and technical knowledge), and prestige power (connections) impact the corporate relationship. If one gets three powers on the row, perhaps they can get respect inside out, and outside in, well, it's not easy.  
  • The title can amplify influence effect; the talent does need to have more leadership substances to build up reputation for long run. If one only has position power such as the managers with certain title practice command and control leadership style at industrial paradigm can only obtain compliance from people. Leadership is what will draw out a person's best work contributions, including their creativity, initiative, influence, collaboration, and other "taking extra mile" attitude & behaviors necessary in today's economy with the power of pull. 
  • Job Responsibility - but that HAS to be followed with a consistent execution of those responsibilities, otherwise the respect goes away, and that is a much more difficult thing to regain. In any organization, opinions of a person do not just weigh on titles, but how effective a person is in their respective role within the organization. More responsibility doesn't always mean to keep your hands full, or keep your schedule extremely busy, tactical performance at the operational level is very much different from strategic practices at the higher strata. What works for one may not be as effective for the other. 

2. Five Ways to Win Respect  

Respect may have nothing to do with either title or responsibility - you get respected in an organization for your work ethic and your ability to deliver or being the "go-to" person. Weather getting respected or not also depends on how you follow principles, make fair judgment, do right things. There are quite a few ways to get respected such as:

  • Character: People admire/respect those who have courage to do things majority of people can't, either break down the ceilings or overcome the bias, etc.

  • Vision: People admire/respect those who can see further than most, zoom in the future to share with others. 
  • Creativity: People admire/respect those who can think or design something uniquely to enchant others. etc. 
  • Sacrifice: People admire/respect those who make sacrifice for more people' benefit, to pursue universal happiness.... 
  • Responsibility: People admire/respect those who take more responsibilities, less credit when making right decision, or accomplishing tasks qualitatively and quantitatively.

3. Leadership as “Whole” Takes Both Substances and Style

If title is on the surface, while responsibility is underneath, either style or substance, leadership as a "whole" makes better influence.

  • At the end of the day, you define the role you play. Title certainly creates an expectation in people of what your role is, and to a degree, the level of responsibilities you've progressed to. But nothing defines you more than what you do. 
  • There is a blend of multiple elements to get respected. Your mindsets, actions and how the results you produce impact others, customers and the business are what matters. There are many ways to succeed in a role; the long term relationships you create, the trust you build, and your choice to succeed are the greatest factors that lead to being successful in any role. 
  • Who get Better Respected will also reflect the Organizational Culture: Our opinions are our biases. And our biases affect how we work with (and relate to) others. Our biases also affect how others work with (and relate to) us. It's unavoidable. So, take a few moments, and consider how your biases are, quite likely, undermining your relationships and diluting your impact, up, down, and across your company's hierarchy. Consider how you interact differently with people simply because they happen to have:
    -More title than responsibility
    -More responsibility than title
    -Neither title nor responsibility
    -Both title and responsibility  
Nowadays, in the global organizations with multi-generational, multi-cultural and multi-tasking workforces, getting respect is a tough journey, besides position power, you needs to have social power and knowledge power, you need to be both tough and nice; answering and asking; influential and adaptable; serious and humorous, creative and critical, emphasize and insightful, wise and cheerful; and it takes both title and responsibility.


Very interesting topic about job responsibility. On my previous work i had to work twice hard, because i had to correct my boss' errors. Now i working as a freelance writer at, and though this title doesn't sound very good, it's good when your income is proportionate to your work.

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