What Body Language do we expect from our Leaders?
By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com
In today’s world, a lot is demanded of the people who lead organizations. They are expected to say the right things, lead by example, show sound judgment, and motivate spirited teams. As leaders conduct themselves, their body language is also under intense scrutiny. And most leaders do not even think twice about the kind of body language they are projecting. So what body language do team members expect from their leaders? Let’s take a look at five items of particular interest.
- Eye Contact. This should be a no-brainer. Maintaining eye contact while delivering messages shows confidence and sincerity. If a leader does not demonstrate favorable eye contact when speaking to individuals or groups, they will have a hard time leading effectively.
- Crossed-Arms. Leaders who talk or listen with their arms crossed will come across as closed off or inflexible. Now, if you are shooting to appear stubborn, by all means, cross your arms. If want to appear collaborative, however, uncross those appendages and get comfortable with yourself.
- Hand Gestures. Many leaders gesture wildly when they are speaking. This kind of rapid hand movement can be distracting to the listener. In addition, it may not project the controlled and confident image that you would prefer. If you make too many hand gestures, relax. Call me and I will give you two tips on what to do with those paws while you are gabbing.
- Posture. Our mothers told us to sit up straight for a reason – you might be in a leadership position some day. As a leader, good posture has never been more important. It shows strength and command.
- Square Up. When listening to others, seek to align your shoulders so as to face them. Too many leaders listen sideways, or even worse, multi-task while listening. Show respect to your audience and speak body language that says “You have my full attention.”
Bottom Line: Our words speak volumes, but often times our body language carries the larger message. Be mindful of your body language, and reinforce your messages by using it wisely.
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