Professionals Don’t Change Hats, They Change Positions

When you work with people, especially if you’re leading them, situations change and you have to adapt.

The most useful thing to know is where we stand in relation to those we’re working with. This is positioning.

Instead of putting on different hats to represent different roles and responsibilities, thinking in terms of positioning allows us to fluidly move while keeping our primary leadership hat on.

Here are 9 common positions we can take:

A leader stands in front of their audience to show the way.

A manager pushes from behind to drive people down a path.

A coach always has someone’s back.

A consultant guides from over a shoulder.

A therapist listens face to face.

A critic speaks face to face.

A peer stands shoulder to shoulder.

A disinterested party faces the other direction.

A parent looks down from above, unless they crouch to a different position.

Consider how in a single interaction you might move from one to the other as the situation calls for it. Consider which you should avoid. Consider, depending on that hat you’re wearing at the start of the interaction, what is and isn’t aligned with your role and responsibilities.

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