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Send your questions and concerns to Dr. Marie McIntyre. Marie has more than 20 years experience in coaching, human resources, and management.  She writes the syndicated column “Your Office Coach”, which appears in more than 70 newspapers nationwide. Marie has authored two books and serves as a workplace expert for the National Institute of Business Management.  (Due to high volume, not all questions can be answered, but Marie will respond to as many as possible. Your question may be reprinted online or in the newspaper column unless you request otherwise.)

Coaching Q&A

How can I keep my boss from downgrading my title?

Our new Executive Director wants to change my job title from “communications director” to “communications manager”.  My pay will remain the same, and I will continue to be responsible for all internal and external communication activities.

I don’t believe the title of “manager” accurately reflects the complexity of my work.  In addition to producing press releases, newsletters, and promotional materials, I also have frequent contact with the public.  This is a small firm with six employees, and I have been here for ten years.

When I meet with my new boss to discuss this issue, I plan to show him my current job description and explain how my work is instrumental to achieving his vision for the company.  Do you have any other suggestions?

Marie’s Answer

Titles can be a touchy subject.  While some executives care very little about them, others have firm opinions about how they should be used.  To develop a strategy for influencing your new boss, you need to learn more about his motives for making this change.

If your colleagues are also experiencing a title reduction, your Executive Director may simply feel that the “director” label is too lofty for such a small business.  He might also prefer to be the only one who can claim that designation.  If that’s the case, changing his mind could be difficult.

But if the director title is still being used by others, then you need to know why you’ve been singled out for a downgrade.  To shift your boss’s thinking, you will have to convince him that your work is equally complex and critical.

The bottom line is that if you hope to reverse this decision, you need to understand the reasoning behind it.  Your first step, therefore, is to simply ask your boss why he feels a manager title is more appropriate for you.  Once you hear his answer, you can determine the best way to make your case for maintaining the status quo.

NOTE: Questions on this page have been edited for length, grammar, and confidentiality.  All material on this website is copyrighted to Marie G. McIntyre.  All rights reserved.

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    Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D.

    Marie McIntyre has more than twenty years’ experience in career coaching and organizational development. She has held management positions in both business and government, including Director of Human Resources in a Fortune 500 company.

    Marie writes the weekly syndicated advice column, “Your Office Coach”, which appears in newspapers throughout the U.S. & Canada.  She also writes a monthly Career Commentary for and serves as a workplace expert for Business Management Daily.  Marie conducts webinars on a variety of topics related to leadership development and career success.

    As a consultant, Marie has assisted a wide variety of organizations, including Cisco, The Home Depot, Tyson Foods, the Federal Reserve, AT&T, Walgreens, Macy’s, and Habitat for Humanity. She has experience in working with business, government, and non-profit groups.

    Marie is the author of two books, “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics” &“The Management Team Handbook”.  She is frequently quoted in business publications, including Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.