What are leadership titles?
A leadership title is a designation assigned to members of the executive or management team within a company. As the job titles for those upper-level positions, they help define what that person does. The leadership titles are part of the company’s hierarchy, which helps structure the organization and establish the chain of command. Leadership titles can vary by company, and not all companies have someone in every leadership position as it depends on the companies’ size, structure and needs.
Examples of C-level leadership titles
C-level executives are the managers who hold the highest positions in the company. They typically handle the big-picture decisions that help guide the company as a whole and establish its direction. Smaller companies often don’t have all of the C-level managers. Decide which positions you need for your company before hiring. Some C-level executive titles include:
Chief executive officer
The chief executive officer (CEO) is the top executive position, overseeing the entire company. This person makes decisions on its overall goals, strategies and direction. They also manage all the other C-level executives, who all report to the CEO. This person is often the owner and might also serve as the president of the company, depending on the structure.
Chief operating officer
The chief operating officer (COO) is usually just under the CEO as the second-in-command, and they focus on the day-to-day operations of the company. COOs also ensure that the company’s plans and strategies are executed properly to keep things running smoothly.
Chief marketing officer
A company’s chief marketing officer (CMO) runs the marketing department and guides the overall marketing plan to help increase sales and grow the company. They manage branding, market research, communications, events and all other marketing activities and oversee the employees in the marketing department.
Chief financial officer
This position is in charge of all financial aspects of running the company. Budgeting, compliance and risk analysis are major duties of the CFO role. They also establish financial policies for the company and oversee the company’s finance and accounting departments.
Chief technology officer
If your company has a lot of technology needs, you might benefit from hiring a chief technology officer (CTO) to run your technology department. This person focuses mainly on innovation in technology, especially if the company also has a chief information officer (CIO) who focuses more on infrastructure. If you only have a CTO, this person likely handles both innovation and infrastructure.
Chief information officer
A chief information officer also handles technology, often managing the technology infrastructure of the company. Some companies have just a CIO, just a CTO or both. If you have both, you can divide the technology oversight between them.
Chief human resources officer
Some companies also have a chief human resources officer (CHRO) who manages everything that relates to people working at the company. They oversee the HR department and handle long-term strategies for HR. This might include talent acquisition, retention and succession planning.
Examples of key leader titles
You’ll be responsible for hiring applicants with a variety of leadership titles. The job titles managers hold indicate their duties and the skills necessary to succeed. Here’s a list of key job titles for management that can be essential to the success of an organization and its employees.
The president in a corporation is a high-ranking executive, but the position can vary by company. It’s sometimes the highest position and runs the entire company, similar to a CEO. Some companies name the same person as the CEO and president. Other companies have a CEO, with a president just under the CEO whose responsibilities are similar to a COO.
An assistant manager is a leadership role that’s under the general manager or department manager. They often supervise employees directly and might help with training employees, conducting reviews, monitoring budgets, handling problems that arise and stepping in for the manager as needed.
When a company has multiple branches across different areas, it might have area managers to serve a particular section. They oversee operational, financial and training tasks for all the branches in a defined region. Area managers often travel frequently to visit the different locations and work with the local management team.
A controller is a company’s financial expert. This person oversees the financial statements, supervises financial employees, ensures compliance, looks for ways to reduce costs and helps the management team make financial decisions.
An administrative director manages the logistics of an organization. They’re accountable for overseeing the performance of staff members working in the office, such as administrative assistants and maintenance staff. They work on budgetary matters, inventory monitoring and the workflow of tasks associated with different departments and employees.
A person with an IT manager job title identifies technological demands for a company and establishes a strategy to meet those demands. One way an IT manager can implement a strategy is by preparing and scheduling software updates that address weaknesses in the company’s current IT infrastructure.
A project manager outlines and develops projects so they can be on time and on budget. They plan the workflow of projects in multiple departments to ensure they meet their deadlines, and they create a budget that matches the company’s goals. They review and manage the risks a project may have and evaluate the level of customer satisfaction once the project concludes.
A chairperson is an officer who sits on a board or a committee. They must ensure all members of the board participate in company meetings and all relevant subject matter is addressed. They provide support to the chief executive officer of a company when needed and ensure all executive team members are following the board’s established procedures.
Director of public relations
A director of public relations is responsible for the execution of a publicity strategy. They ensure the company is being represented positively, and they form relationships with key personalities within the media, government or business community. Normally, they oversee a staff that produces newsworthy deliverables, such as press releases distributed to the media, and hire personnel to expand the reach of their efforts.
Vice president of marketing
A vice president of marketing strategizes how a company can better influence customers to buy their product or service. They coordinate with the management team from the sales department on ways they can pitch the product to their target audience. They can also work with the rest of the marketing department to conduct market research on the demand for each product and trends they can use to increase audience exposure to a company’s brand.
A sales supervisor works with the marketing department on the ideal way to persuade customers to purchase a product. They develop sales pitches for customer and client representatives and monitor their performance based on the number of products sold. They may earn a commission based on the number of sales that come into a business.
Human resources manager
A human resources manager trains current employees and writes development plans to improve their performance. They must collaborate with departmental managers to evaluate an employee’s performance and decide on the areas for improvement to include in their development plan. They also facilitate the hiring and onboarding process, including posting job descriptions, screening candidates and interviewing for open positions within the company.
Business development manager
A business development manager is in charge of growing relationships with prospective companies. They also enhance the company’s revenue by making new connections, fostering relationships with existing contacts and scheduling meetings with current and potential clients to discuss the mutual value of their business relationship.
A finance director assesses and monitors the financial health of a business. They establish company-wide best practices for accounting and finance that can promote financial vitality. Their job also involves collaborating with departmental managers and the executive team on effective spending strategies and reporting methods. Directors must maintain the accuracy of reports to be presented at the end of the fiscal year.
Three crucial concepts
Employees with leadership job titles must adhere to three concepts of leadership that can elevate their ability to manage others while enhancing their leadership qualities and skills. These concepts refer to:
Public leadership is the influence a leader can have on two or more people at the same time. You must choose a leader who’s comfortable with problem-solving and decision-making for the number of people you plan to have them lead so they can be proactive in producing effective solutions for your business.
Private leadership involves the one-on-one interactions a leader may have with another employee. Search for a personable leader who can effectively facilitate the performance review process, handle leadership development planning, give honest feedback and motivate employees to exceed expectations.
Personal leadership is when a leader uses their personal attributes and values to guide their decision-making and interactions with a team. Consider a leader who understands how they can keep improving their own skills and habits to better lead others by example.
Frequently asked questions about leadership titles
How do employees choose which titles to pursue?
Employees pursue positions related to their career path, so you should aim for candidates who want to use their previous relevant experience to grow in a leadership role. For example, you might recruit an applicant for an administrative director position if they’ve worked as an administrative assistant, an administrative coordinator and a human resources manager throughout their career.
What skills do employees in a leadership role possess?
Applicants seeking to work in a leadership position must have several management competencies, including:
- Problem-solving abilities
- Effective communication skills for all levels of the organization
- Delegation skills
- Integrity and accountability
Look for quantifiable achievements on their resume so you can determine if they’re the right fit for a leadership role. Asking the right leadership interview questions can also help you narrow down candidates.
Is director or VP higher?
A vice president is usually a higher executive position than a director. VPs are typically right below the C-level executives and report to them. Directors are the next level down under VPs and usually report to the VP. Not all companies have both VPs and directors; instead, they have one or the other. Depending on the size of the company, there might be multiple directors and VPs, with each one being in charge of a particular division, such as VP of sales or director of marketing.
What are B-level executives?
B-level management is another name for mid-level managers. This might include managers of a specific department, such as the sales manager or service manager. They usually report to a director and serve as a connection between the employees and the top-level executives. They ensure their department operates smoothly by setting goals, overseeing daily operations, hiring employees and training employees.
Can a company have two CEOs?
A company can have two CEOs, but it can be challenging to have two leaders. Co-CEOs might have conflicting ideas of what’s best for the company or how to lead it. In some companies, having two CEOs makes it easier to handle the workload if there’s too much work for one CEO. Two executives with different skill sets might complement each other well and help the company grow better than one.