Positioning Is Signaling


If you think people are not paying attention to how you move, where you position, where you sit, where you are looking, where you are standing, etc….you are missing some very fundamental information that can help you be much more effective. Your choices of dress, postures, positioning and seating choices during meeting facilitation has everything to do with how you are signaling… in authority terms.

As it turns out, most people are quite adept at picking up signals without thinking about it. Especially signals about authorization.

And in Agile coaching, authority dynamics are the name of the game.

In the previous lesson I explained to you that must deflect any and all projections of authority from the teams you are advising.

Presumably you understand that. The question now is: how are you going to signal that you are not an authority figure?

Here is a very specific way you can signal a complete lack of authority: sit as close to the door as possible, with your back to the door. In all cases, avoid the head of table. Avoid seats that are deep in the room, facing the door. Why avoid these seats?

First, do so because that is where authority sits. And you are not authority in this organization. If you play the authority-figure, you are killing repeat KILLING any chance the team has to self-organize. (This is explained in the next lesson.)

Second, if you occupy any of those seats, you miss a wonderful chance to see who chooses to occupy them. By leaving them empty, you can see what develops. You can see who considers themselves to be authority in this social space.

Third, and most importantly, you can now easily get eye contact with the authority in the room. You are after all working for them- why wouldn’t you want to check in frequently with some eye contact?

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