Good leaders need to know how to use body language effectively, and they must understand the meaning of body language that members of their team or organization use to lead the team. to victory. The Silent Language of Leaders (2011) provides readers with experiences, rules for controlling body language, and different interpretations of this form of communication in different cultures. together.
The book is aimed at those who hold leadership positions. In addition, the book provides useful information for those working in a multicultural environment or those interested in the field of body language and psychology.
About the author
Carol Kinsey Goman is a leadership coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker and president of Kinsey Consulting Services. The Unspoken Language of Leaders is one of her bestsellers.
Good leadership requires good communication skills – including body language
You certainly can't inspire or convince anyone if you don't use the right body language. Body language includes posture, hand gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, touch and even scent; they all bring a more empathetic feeling when communicating.
As a leader, your body language will be immediately recognized and judged by others. In fact, research shows that we rate a person's credibility, confidence, likability, and trustworthiness just 7 seconds after meeting them. Only 7 seconds! Too short a time for you to hear an elaborate statement.
How can everything happen so quickly? Because that's how the brain works. Basically, body language is always perceived and evaluated through the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system is the structural part of the brain that responds to emotions and memories. It is the part of the brain that receives and processes emotions. In other words, it's like an alarm system; once received information, this department will quickly find the threat.
Since everyone's limbic system and brain structure are mostly the same, body language is mostly the same across even different cultures. The basic expressions of fear, surprise, and anger are the same all over the world. Therefore, this form of language has become the first communication method of human society. It is the basis to determine who is a friend and who is an enemy in a split second. Even though we don't survive on body language these days, it's still considered an important skill in business.
Successful leaders can both read and apply body language properly
Do you interlock your hands when asking questions? If you do, then stop now! If you're knitting because you're cold, it shouldn't be a problem. Body language is in the eyes of the person you come into contact with, they judge in their own way, regardless of your intentions.
When we meet a leader, we immediately see his warmth and authority. You convey warmth mainly through open gestures, such as when facing the other person, synchronizing your actions with hers, nodding, smiling and keeping your limbs “free of your fingers.” together".
Power and social status are also conveyed through your gestures. So if you want to appear strong and authoritative, have an upright posture, speak clearly, and keep your eyes focused. People want a tough and confident leader like that.
That is why this form of communication is so important in politics. When we judge a politician, we notice two things. One is his party, the other is his body language. History has made that clear to us. Richard Nixon lost to John F. Kennedy in the first presidential race to be streamed because he appeared restless and kept stroking his forehead. This made him look less confident and more stressed than John F. Kennedy.
In the future, the use of body language will be even more important. Over the generations, the job market has expanded and become richer. In a group where members come from different cultures, body language is the most important communication key to help them understand each other better. Imagine you manage hundreds of employees from several dozen different countries. Obviously, you may not be able to communicate fluently in your native language with each of your workers, but you can convey your warmth and trustworthiness through some of the right gestures. Moreover, interactive forms such as video or more advanced technologies emphasize the importance of body language.
Mastering body language makes you a better negotiator
Communicating isn't as simple as choosing sharp words, nor is negotiating it as simple as arguing well with leverage. When it comes to negotiating, nothing is more persuasive than body language.
The Massachusetts Academy of Sciences (MIT) researched the impact of body language by having economists confide in each other when they were wearing a device that records changes in body language. change tone, tone, and nods. The device will correctly judge when it thinks the expert has convinced the panel. If relying solely on body language, stand up straight, face the examiner, and speak in a low voice. You will succeed!
To get a better grasp, you need to understand what each type of body language means:
- Avoid looking down at your documents or anything else in the room. Focus on the other person, it shows you are interested.
- Draw boundaries when observing the other person's body language. How often do they make eye contact? Do they move often? You can misunderstand those actions if you don't know how often they are.
- Pay attention to the action group. These combinations of gestures always mean something when they happen close together. For example, holding hands doesn't usually indicate anxiety, but it does if the other person is nervous and has limited eye contact.
- Always pay attention to the context. For example, people sitting in the front seats of an auditorium always cross their legs to create distance from the stage. That act at the time doesn't mean they disassociated themselves from the show.
Don't forget to pay attention to your feet. Body language is more than just eyes and hands. If a person is constantly moving her feet, she must be feeling bored and anxious. If you want to be a good leader, keep your feet still.
Positive body language is the key to a successful partnership
If you glance sideways while someone is talking, they will immediately feel that their teacher is not important and leave. This will reduce the incentive to cooperate between you and that person, no matter what you are doing in common.
Humans are born to cooperate with each other. In fact, the human brain contains a lot of mirror neurons. They help us make appropriate responses, creating emotional bridges. These neurons make us empathize with the joys and sorrows of others.
Mirror neurons play an important role in work. That's why some employees subconsciously imitate their boss's behavior. Having your boss's ability to use body language properly promotes collaboration within the company. Smile and show respect to the person you're talking to. You need to show them that you are paying attention and cannot be distracted by anything else.
Some notes when you are open and friendly, don't get too close to the other person in case they feel uncomfortable. Americans set up the "Intimate Zone" - two people are allowed to stand closer than 50cm apart - only applied to those who are really close. It will be 60cm with intimate, trusting partners. Distance will always be proportional to proximity. For example, above 1m with casual colleagues and further with social friends.
Customizable body language by gender
Both men and women can make good leaders. But the biggest difference between the two factions is the way they lead the community. Why? Let's go back to the structure of the brain to find out.
Both males and females have mirror neurons. The male brain has one more system (the lobe junction) that will work temporarily before the mirror neurons are fired. This difference helps men focus more on analysis and problem solving. Meanwhile, the female brain continues to undergo emotional regulation.
The sexes also react differently to stress. Men have an immediate fight-or-flight response, while women respond emotionally and tend to use the limbic system more. From that we can see, stress reduces the empathy of men. This is the exact opposite of the weaker sex.
Women's body language conveys empathy more effectively. They make eye contact and smile more than men. Women's ability to understand other people's body language is also better. Therefore, female leaders are often graceful and powerful.
On the other hand, men in leadership often prefer to use strength and authority. Their body language is often unsophisticated, outspoken, and less emotional. Therefore, men often appear tough and confident.
Understanding cultural diversity in modern day body language
What does index finger and thumb forming a circle mean? The answer depends on where you come from. In the US it means "OK", in France it means "worthless" or "zero", in Japan it is related to money, in some places it is considered obscene.
Cultural differences are increasingly evident in our diverse world. Therefore, it is important to adjust behavior accordingly.
When giving a business card to a Japanese partner, you need to raise your hands and bow. Any other action is considered impolite. But don't do that in America, other people will look at you as if you were an alien.
Bowing can vary from region to region, but basically everyone is the same in 7 expressions: joy, surprise, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and disgust scorn. You will immediately recognize these 7 signs, no matter where the person comes from.
Besides, it is not difficult for us to recognize fake emotions. Facial expressions if stretched or asymmetrical always give a sense of skepticism. Disdain is the only true expression that makes the other person suspicious.
My words to readers
Effective leadership is built on the ability to communicate, and communication is more than simply using words. You need to develop body language to convey a positive attitude and spirit of cooperation within your team. The only way to strengthen the power of body language is to learn how to use it and keep an eye on other people's body language.