Use titles to do less work and get more done

At times community leaders will feel stretched too thin. Whether you are growing your community, or you are just having trouble keeping it running, there are periods in which there is too much work to do and not enough time to do it.

Instead of reducing the amount of work, consider another option that requires no incremental time, is free and may actually make your community stronger: titles and roles for other contributors in your community.

Granting titles and roles to more members on your team divides the work among more people. For example, if you are working 10 hours per week on your community, adding 4 other people to help you brings your total commitment to only 2 hours per week. You just saved 8 hours of time, every single week!

While enlisting others to work is traditionally compensated with money, your group has a unique superpower that can be more valuable than money… Status. As humans, being identified with status in a group setting makes us feel rewarded, respected and acknowledged. Status in a group comes in the form of titles.

The oldest groups make extensive use of titles to recognize specific people and the roles they are fulfilling. Sports teams have coaches, captains and positions to be played. Nonprofits have extensive boards and executive teams. Sororities and fraternities give almost half their members titles -- Director of Social Events, Philanthropy Leader, etc. In a corporation, everyone has a title, from the CEO to the intern.

Community leaders can also use titles with clear roles to elevate community members who help with the work. “Captain of X,” “Ambassador of Y,” “Director of Z,” brings status and a clear role. These titles should not be taken lightly -- celebrate when someone is promoted with a title and help them feel empowered to fulfill it!

Titles come with status and recognition, but they should also come with responsibility. In order to preserve the title and status, it should be clear that there is a role to be filled. The “Treasurer” should be handling due collection and bookkeeping. The “Captain of…” or “Director of...'' needs to make sure the task associated with the title is getting completed every single week. If the work is left unfinished, you should feel comfortable revoking the title or replacing the person. Look beyond your leadership team and consider members as well. Lululemon, for example, attributes much of their growth to their “Ambassadors” who represent the brand.

Titles in your community can help divide the work and recognize those contributing. You cannot do everything alone, so build a team of leaders and together you can focus on keeping your community sustainable.