The world of the workplace is, it sometimes seems, as much defined by job titles and positions as it is by productivity or efficiency.
Freelancers find themselves defending their decision not to call themselves self-employed; self-employed staunchly refuse to call themselves entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs deny being freelance; while in the corporate sphere directors and managers, department heads and assistant vice-presidents are all locked into their place in the pantheon by what they are called or what their business card says.
In an environment where a coaching culture has grown or has been adopted this will generally be less of an issue, as the title a person carries around is only ever going to be an identifier of the role, and not of the person.
The manager who understands the value of a coaching mentality will be a leader first and a manager second, while in another environment, where coaching has yet to be introduced, the manager is all too often the person who tells others what to do.
This isn’t to say that all managers who are not yet part of a coaching culture are less good at their jobs than those who work within such a culture; far from it. There are many great managers in all kinds of businesses, and the best of these will all be leaders first and managers second. However, there are always going to be those individuals who rely on their title to give them the power they crave, and will make others’ lives miserable as a means of demonstrating that power.
There are also people in every workplace who have no title, or who belie the title they have by being effective and inspirational leaders, often working on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder, but having a disproportionate impact on the workplace and the organisation through their embodiment of leadership as a human function.
Forget titles, and look around you for the real leaders, and look at yourself too; whether you are the CEO of a large corporate or a self-employed, freelance entrepreneur with a vision, you might find that your place in the world can be define better and your influence more beneficial to yourself and others if you think of yourself as a leader first, and whatever your business card says second.