When it comes to leadership your words are important. Your nonverbal communication can be just as influential. In fact, research has shown that nonverbal cues make up a significant portion of how we communicate and can even convey more information than the words we speak. This means that your body language can have a powerful impact on your leadership effectiveness and the success of your team.
Unfortunately, many leaders are unaware of the unconscious body language habits that may be undermining their success. Here are five common body language habits that can sabotage your leadership:
Body Language Habit #1: Failing to Make Eye Contact
One of the most basic forms of nonverbal communication is eye contact. When we look someone in the eyes, it shows that we are present, engaged, and interested in what they have to say. On the other hand, failing to make eye contact can signal disinterest, dishonesty, or lack of confidence.
As a leader, it’s important to make eye contact with your team members, especially when you are communicating important information or giving feedback. By showing that you are fully present and engaged, you can build trust and credibility with your team.
Body Language Habit #2: Crossed Arms
Crossing your arms across your chest can convey a number of negative messages, including defensiveness, closed-mindedness, or lack of openness. While it’s natural to cross your arms from time to time, be mindful of the message you are sending when you do so.
If you find that you frequently cross your arms during meetings or conversations, try to consciously uncross them and open your posture instead. This can signal openness and willingness to listen, which can help to foster better communication and collaboration with your team.
Body Language Habit #3: Slumped Shoulders
Your posture can say a lot about your state of mind and your leadership style. Slumping or slouching can convey a lack of energy, confidence, or leadership presence. On the other hand, standing tall with good posture can signal strength, confidence, and authority.
If you find yourself slumping or slouching, try to consciously straighten your posture. This can not only improve your appearance, but also boost your energy and confidence.
Body Language Habit #4: Consistent Fidgeting
Constant fidgeting can convey nervousness, discomfort, or lack of confidence. While it’s normal to feel some nerves in certain situations, excessive fidgeting or avoiding touch can make you appear untrustworthy or uncertain.
To improve your nonverbal communication, try to focus on being still and present in your body. This can help you to appear more confident and in control.
Body Language Habit #5: Inconsistent Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are a powerful form of nonverbal communication, and inconsistency can be confusing or off-putting to others. For example, if you are speaking with a team member and your facial expression doesn’t match the words you are saying, it can create confusion or mistrust.
To improve your nonverbal communication, try to be aware of your facial expressions and ensure that they match the words and tone of your message. This can help to create clearer and more authentic communication with your team.
Bottom line, your body language can have a powerful impact on your team’s motivation, confidence, and trust in you. By becoming more aware of your unconscious body language habits and making an effort to improve your nonverbal communication, you can enhance your leadership effectiveness and drive better results for your team.
Lead From Within: The body language of leaders is especially important because it influences not only how others see them, but also how they see themselves.
Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world.
Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds
of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership
program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance
and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership
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Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.