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 are an important part 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 your team’s success.
Unfortunately, many leaders are unaware of unconscious habits of body language that can interfere with their success. Here are five common body language habits that can sabotage your leadership:
Body Language Habit #1: Not Making Eye Contact
One of the most basic forms of nonverbal communication is eye contact. When we look someone in the eye, it shows that we are present, engaged and interested in what they have to say. On the other hand, not making eye contact can signal disinterest, dishonesty, or a lack of trust.
As a leader, it’s important to make eye contact with your team members, especially when communicating important information or giving feedback. By showing that you are fully present and engaged, you can build your team’s trust and credibility.
Body Language Habit #2: Arms Crossed
Crossing your arms over 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 aware of the message you’re sending when you do so.
If you find that you frequently cross your arms in meetings or conversations, try to consciously uncross them and open your posture instead. It can signal an openness and willingness to listen, which can help foster better communication and collaboration with your team.
Body Language Habit #3: Slouched Shoulders
Your posture can say a lot about your mindset and leadership style. Sagging or slumping can reflect a lack of energy, confidence, or leadership presence. On the other hand, standing up straight with good posture can signal strength, confidence, and authority.
If you find yourself slouching or slouching, try to consciously straighten your posture. It can not only improve your appearance, but also increase your energy and confidence.
Body Language Habit #4: Constantly fidgeting
The constant fidgeting can convey nervousness, discomfort, or a lack of confidence. While it’s normal to feel nervous in certain situations, fidgeting excessively or avoiding touching yourself can make you appear untrustworthy or uncertain.
To improve your nonverbal communication, try focusing on being still and present in your body. It can help you 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’re speaking with a team member and your facial expression doesn’t match the words you’re speaking, it can create confusion or mistrust.
To improve your nonverbal communication, try to be aware of your facial expressions and make sure they match the words and tone of your message. This can help create clearer and more authentic communication with your team.
Ultimately, your body language can have a powerful impact on your team’s motivation, confidence, and belief in you. By becoming more aware of your unconscious body language habits and striving to improve your nonverbal communication, you can improve your leadership effectiveness and achieve better results for your team.
Lead from within: The body language of leaders is particularly 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. His vast 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 designed to be a catalyst for leaders who want to improve their performance and make a meaningful difference in their business, their lives, and the world.
Among Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was named Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. magazine. The Huffington Post awarded Lolly the title of The most inspiring woman in the world. His writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post and Psychology Today, and others. His latest book, The Leadership Gap: What’s Between You and Your Greatness? became a national bestseller.