#Talk Nerdy To Me™’s @staffwriter
Body language is one of the most important aspects of communication. It is a nonverbal form of communication that conveys messages to other people. The way you move, gesture, and use your eyes can affect how people perceive you and the message you are trying to communicate. For leaders, it is essential to be aware of the power of body language and to use it effectively to influence others.
There are several reasons why body language is so important for leaders.
People Believe What They See
First, people tend to believe what they see more than what they hear. When you are trying to convey a message, your body language can be just as important as the words you use.
Leaders frequently must communicate with their constituents, whether they are employees, shareholders, or voters. And while the words they use are important, the way they use their body is just as crucial. Good leaders know how to use body language to reinforce their message and create a rapport with their audience.
There are a few key ways that leaders can use body language to their advantage. First, they can make sure to maintain eye contact. This shows that they are engaged with what the other person is saying and helps to build trust. Second, they can keep their posture open and expansive. This indicates confidence and communicates that the leader is receptive to new ideas. Finally, leaders should be aware of their facial expressions and ensure that they are conveying the appropriate emotions for the situation. A smile, for instance, can make the leader seem more approachable and likable, while a clenched jaw can come across as angry or harsh.
By being mindful of their body language, leaders can send powerful nonverbal messages that reinforce their verbal ones.
Build Trust and Credibility
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” When it comes to body language, this couldn’t be truer. In fact, studies have shown that much of our communication is nonverbal. This means that the way we carry ourselves and the expressions we wear can speak volumes, even when we’re not saying a word.
For leaders, understanding and utilizing proper body language is essential for building trust. After all, trust is the foundation of any successful team or organization. When leaders project confidence and authority through their body language, they signal to others that they are capable and in control. This in turn instills confidence in those who follow them. On the other hand, if a leader appears uncertain or insecure, it can quickly undermine their legitimacy in the eyes of others.
Body language is also a powerful tool for building rapport. By maintaining eye contact, smiling, and using open gestures, leaders can come across as approachable and likable. This makes people more likely to trust and follow them. Conversely, avoiding eye contact, crossing your arms, or slouching can make you seem uninterested or untrustworthy.
And leaders need trust and rapport to be effective. After all, people are more likely to follow someone they like and trust than someone they don’t. By using the right body language, leaders can increase their likability and build strong relationships with those they lead.
When trying to influence others, nonverbal cues can be just as important as the words leaders use. The way leaders carry themselves and make eye contact can convey confidence and authority, making others more likely to listen to their ideas. Similarly, body language is also important for building trust with board members and stakeholders. Those who are seen as open and sincere are more likely to gain the support of others.
When it comes to negotiating deals, body language can be used to send subtle but important messages. For instance, maintaining a calm demeanor can show that a leader is in control of the situation, while crossing one’s arms may convey defensiveness or a lack of interest. (Or for neurodivergent people a form of self soothing.)
Finally, body language is critical for managing a workforce through difficult times. Leaders who appear composed and authoritative are more likely to earn the respect of their employees, even during periods of stress or adversity. In sum, the importance of body language should not be underestimated. Leaders who master this skill can reap a number of benefits.
By appearing approachable and open, you encourage others to come to you with questions, concerns, and feedback—even when that feedback is critical. On the other hand, if you appear closed off or unapproachable, you send the message that you’re not interested in hearing what others have to say. This can make it difficult to get the honest feedback you need to improve as a leader.
Body language is also a crucial method for conveying your own messages and intentions of approachability. For example, making eye contact and maintaining an open posture sends the signal that you’re interested in what the other person has to say and that you want to hear it.
On the other hand, crossing your arms or looking away can make you seem disinterested or even hostile.
(Again, not applicable to my neurodivergent friends in the back!)
If employees think their leader is not interested in honest feedback, they will quickly learn not to give it.
(This is true for everyone!)
Build a Better Team
When it comes to making hiring and firing decisions, body language is an important tool for leaders to use. By reading the body language of employees and candidates, leaders can build a stronger, better team.
Body language can reveal a lot about a person’s true feelings and intentions. For example, someone who is shy or uncomfortable in an interview is likely not going to be a confident, successful employee. Similarly, someone who is slouching or avoiding eye contact may be hiding something or feeling guilty about something. On the other hand, someone who is open and friendly, making good eye contact and smiling, is likely to be a good team player.
Leaders need to be able to read body language to make the best hiring and firing decisions. By understanding what a person’s body language is saying, leaders can get a better sense of who will be a good fit for their team—and who won’t.
Let’s end where we began: Why is body language important for leaders?
In short, body language is a crucial part of effective leadership. By remaining aware of both your own body language and the body language of those around you, you can ensure that you’re reaching your full potential as a leader.