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It is in your body language

Consider the negative messages that leaders can send to followers when they are not conscious of their facial and body language:

· a sense of lack of confidence or trust in an employee;

· the degree to which the leader accepts the feelings of employees;

· implicit acceptance of inappropriate behaviours;

· his or her own negative feelings about an issue;

· their own lack of commitment to a course of action.

These are powerful messages that no leader would want consciously to fire into an organization. Without knowing it, we react to people every day on the basis of what we see when we look at them and observe their facial expressions and their body language.

Leaders must always remember everything that is expected of them, including that they should always be positive in their appearance and in the way they behave towards people. How we are feeling is reflected in how we stand and walk. Non-verbal communication reveals to the world how we feel inside, so it is critical to achieve emotional mastery if we are to prevent our body from sending signals that may be at odds with the messages we wish to communicate. How you hold your head, where you put your hands, whether you fold your arms – all of these send signals.

Negative body language is leaning away from someone, crossing your arms or legs, looking away to the side, rubbing your eyes or the back of your neck, or (my personal favourite) folding your hands behind your head. Positive body language includes moving or leaning in towards people, having relaxed uncrossed limbs, long periods of eye contact and genuine smiles.

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