January 13, 2016

Your title is never as important as what you do with it

When I visit my doctor and she gives me pre-surgery instructions, I find myself referring to her by her title: "Yes, doctor." Or when my child has been terribly sick and a doctor finally figures out how to help them, I find myself saying, "Thanks, doctor."

I'm trusting her to not kill me while I'm under anesthesia. Or I’m grateful that she has taken care of my kid, my greatest accomplishment in life. She has earned my respect and trust, to be addressed by the title she has worked so hard for.

If you insist that others use your title, you’re not really getting the respect you were hoping for. And you most certainly are not gaining trust.

In an era when the failure of leaders with particular titles or positions can be terribly public, folks can be apathetic and cynical of leadership. You’ve got to earn respect and trust. Insisting on it, or assuming you have it, will not get you anywhere.

Your title is never as important as what you do with it.

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