So, why do doctors wear white coats?
The real answer isn’t a punchline.
A white coat is a visual indication of position and credibility. Patients know exactly who they are speaking with and what to expect from them.
Wearing a stethoscope around their neck gives a similar impression, even if the doctor doesn’t use it!
Whether seeing a doctor in a white coat causes you to feel relieved or anxious, our response is automatic.
For a business example, when an executive walks into a conference room, they give off signals as to their position. It’s usually subtle – walking with confidence or simply where they choose to sit.
I’ve always thought it interesting that, even if they have a laptop with them, an executive usually doesn’t open it. They sit back, ask questions, and listen. Everyone else has their computer open and paper & pen at the ready. Talk about an indicator of authority!
So my question for you this is: how do you convey your position and authority as a Project Manager?
Why do I ask?
Because some of your stakeholders, and even some folks on your team, aren’t familiar with what your role entails. You can’t spend every day explaining what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, just to get them to respond to your questions and requests.
Think about the best Project Manager you’ve ever worked with. How did they act, talk, dress, and walk into a room? Where did they sit? (Personally, I always sit in the middle. It puts me in the center of the team…and it’s near the cord for the projector!)
On a conference call, how would a great PM open it up? How would they facilitate the meeting?
Emulate these techniques. And use them intentionally to convey your position and authority without needing to explain and defend your role over and over.