WHY TITLES DON’T MATTER TO GET THE JOB DONE
In my professional career, I’ve faced challenges, learned hard lessons, and achieved a lot, giving all the credit to God because, without Him, none of it would have been possible.
Today, I want to share a crucial lesson I learned that shifted my perspective on leadership.
Since I was young, I felt a calling to be a leader. Despite applying for various opportunities with different companies, I needed assistance to secure a leadership position.
I had the skills and excelled at everything I was tasked with—managers and supervisors loved my work. Yet, I couldn’t secure a position with a leadership title.
But that didn’t discourage me. I continued pursuing leadership roles and climbing the career ladder because I was confident that’s where God wanted me to be.
For the longest time, I believed that God wanted me to be a leader in a business, working for someone else. That meant I needed to become a manager.
What I didn’t understand was that being a leader and being a manager were totally different.
I credit God for always being there for me, even when I make mistakes (and I make plenty!). He’s guided me down paths that I’m incredibly thankful for. He’s the main reason I have an incredible wife and a beautiful family.
Little did I know that God had been using me in leadership roles all along.
Reflecting on it, I was a leader in every position I ever held.
I just didn’t realize it back then because it didn’t come with the title I thought was necessary to be a leader.
The lightbulb moment hit me when I took on a job where I had zero authority. I had to figure out how to get people from all over the company to do what I needed. Things like completing paperwork and following rules that I didn’t create.
And here’s the kicker—we were a nationwide company! So, it’s not like I could just pop in on every person and ask them to fill out this form. Oh, and while I’m here, could you please follow these really complicated rules?
It took me a long time to figure out how to get what I needed. Mainly because by the time I realized I was a leader, it was a few years into this new position.
This job taught me that you don’t have to be in charge to be a true leader.
I remember this one time I was in East Texas, and this guy hopped into a CDL rig, but I knew he didn’t have a CDL.
When I calmly asked him, “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING??????”
He tells me his boss told him to do it, and he’s going to listen to his boss, not me!
So, I had a nice chat with the boss about why he needs a CDL, and the boss turned around and told me he doesn’t care about anything I’m saying. He’s here to make money and get things done!
I was furious. I was so mad at the guy that I wanted to scream. But that wouldn’t have gotten me very far. I had to figure out how to get them to change their thinking. They had to see why it was so important to know and follow the rules.
I had to figure out how to lead from the middle of the pack.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned by putting myself out there that you can change the world without a title.
In that job, to cut a long story short, I managed to improve the company and turn it from one of the worst in the nation to one of the best in less than one year.
This brought about a big change in my career mindset. I shifted from ‘I need to have the title’ to ‘I don’t want the title! ‘
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not about rejecting the title but understanding that you don’t need it to make a difference.
Many folks have this idea all wrong, thinking you need a specific position, like a manager, or a title that calls you a leader, to make a difference.
News flash. You don’t, and I’m living proof of that.
That’s my point here. I used to be a guy nobody wanted to be around. Trying to be a leader but acting like a boss.
I had to change how I thought and what I did. Instead of seeking authority, I focused on encouraging people to do what’s right.
Once I shifted my mindset and let go of the obsession with titles, I found myself in one leadership role after another.
Look at where we are today.
When I talk about Eclipse DOT or DOT Docs, it has always been and will always be a collective effort.
It used to bother me when we first got started. People would ask about the business, and I would say something like, “Yep, we sure have built something amazing here!”
Their response was, “We? Who are you working with?”
As a great leader, your role is to uplift your team, not to take credit for their work. Give them praise when they are present and, even more, when they aren’t.
Remember, titles don’t matter to get the job done. Take it from the guy who wanted all of them.
Now, I’m excited to pass my title to someone more deserving to run our business!
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