I will start by taking all the mystery from this article…duty titles will not get you promoted. In fact, they mean almost nothing to a TSgt. They are a bit more important to SNCOs, but still not the determining factor in your next promotion. What you do with the duty title you have is what will get you promoted.
Duty titles are often a big concern when it comes to EPR closeouts. Especially now that there are TSgts meeting the board, many are going to their supervisors and asking about a new role. This is one of the biggest questions I receive when mentoring NCOs.
This begs the question of how important is a duty title?
For a TSgt, duty titles are not that important. For those on my team, they meant nothing. Out of those who did make it from my team and other organizations I was part of; duty titles were not a factor. Half or so had leadership titles and the others just run-of-the-mill “technicians.” What they all had in common was the verbiage on the EPRs.
A duty title simply states what you do, not how well you do it. It is more vital to have things you talk about on your EPR read as leader than it is to be a subterranean aquatic engineer. I have actually seen duty titles hurt people on the past few boards and on previous SNCO boards. A duty title becomes a target. It is something you are measured against your peers with. If you are a section chief, the Chiefs on the board know what section chiefs do and compare your bullets to their expectation of a section chief.
TSgts trying to woo the board need to look like MSgts in their actions, not in their titles. The Enlisted Force Structure lays a very clear picture of what MSgts look like. They are transitioning from being technical experts to leaders skilled at merging the talents of others to meet the mission. Therefore, a promotable TSgt’s EPR should have some bullets on there about how awesome he or she is on the job (technical expert) and what is being done to bring others up to that level (merging talent). Then the “result” portion of the bullet needs to show how the mission is being met.
The reason why we think duty titles matter is because those placed in leadership roles and get the sought-after titles are there based on their talent. Senior leaders want people in leadership roles who have displayed past talent and who will move the organization forward. Sometimes toxic people find their way in, but I think we can agree most people are where they belong.
We need to own our role. Anyone can do this, even if they are not in a leadership role. It is very rare that a TSgt is a one-person team and can’t find others to mentor. If you are running a shop, the bullets reflect the work of others (merging talent) and the leader helped make it happen (technical expert). Those that do not have a leadership duty title have to remember as a TSgt, they are still leaders in the organization.
The way I have approached my job and how I attempt to reflect it on my eval is that I am preparing those on my team to take my job. I know what it takes to do my job and fulfill my current rank. I need to be getting others ready to take the torch so I can move on. You know what it takes to be a TSgt and you should be prepping those on your team to take your place. Why should you be promoted if there is no one who can do your job?