3 Body Language Signs for More Effective Leadership
Posted on November 7, 2018 by Danny Leffel
Body language plays a significant role in how you are perceived as a leader. While body language is not something that qualifies or disqualifies you from being a leader, it does telegraph a lot of information to your employees. Your face can say one thing while your body language says something completely different. This can cause employees to question your motives as they try to understand the true meaning of your words.
Here are some tips on body language for leaders and details on how the right body language can instill confidence in your employees.
1. Make it a Point to Smile
Employees don’t often meet with the boss, especially when they work in jobs such as retail operations, manufacturing, or restaurants. When you walk up on an employee who doesn’t know who you are outside of being the boss, chances are, they are going to be nervous. If you’re not in the habit of smiling, you’re likely to unnerve them further as their initial thought might be that you are approaching them because they have done something wrong.
Your intent may be nothing more than to say hello, see how they are doing, and make sure they are working to the best of their ability. If you’ve got a serious look on your face, you’re more likely to make someone feel afraid of you instead of comfortable in your presence.
Smiling is one of many useful communication skills and it costs you nothing. A smile engenders an air of openness for the employee. They may not want to engage with you further, but they’re more likely to relax and talk about what they’re doing instead of feeling intimidated by you.
2. Don’t Create Barriers or Look Defensive
Crossing your arms or legs in a conversation is a power pose that makes it look like you don’t want anything to do with other people. You may not use this form of nonverbal communication consciously, or you may do it as part of your thinking process, but you’re doing it all the same. It is very powerful body language that can shut down engagement before it begins, especially if you want to have an honest and open talk about a delicate topic.
Open up your body by putting your arms at your sides or on your desk, and avoid crossing your legs. This serves to open up your body language and make you look more receptive to what’s being said by the other party. You’ll find that the people you’re talking to will perceive you as more willing to talk and, more importantly, to listen to them, creating a better quality of discourse than would otherwise happen if you kept your body closed off.
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3. Learn to Modulate the Tone of Your Voice
You might not think a whole lot about the tones you use when you speak, but if you talk in a monotone without much inflection, or you use a vocal tone that is high in your throat, you’re less likely to be taken seriously by your staff. That’s not to say your voice isn’t assertive enough because you talk in a higher register, regardless of your gender. What it does say is that you come across as lacking confidence or maturity to those who hear your voice.
It may seem a bit odd that the tone of your voice has this much effect on people, but it’s the second thing people notice after they see you.
Modulating your tone is pretty easy. Feel for where you speak from when you open your mouth. If it feels high, like it’s somewhere in your neck, try moving it downwards towards your chest. Draw deep from your chest when you speak. This serves to deepen the tone of your voice and gives it a resonance that tends to be lacking in higher registers. Speaking in this manner serves to project your voice in an authoritative way and makes people pay attention to you. Whatever it is you’re saying gets delivered clean and clearly and the people you’re addressing take you more seriously. It’s a net positive for you, makes you sound like the leader you are, and improves how your employees perceive you.
Conveying your tone is also important to consider within written messages to your staff using an app like Crew. You can download the Crew App today to keep in touch with your employees and management staff with the least amount of effort. Employees can keep in touch with one another via their cell phones without the need to make a phone call or the need to find a computer for a check-in.