Are You Honing Your Body Language As A Leader?

I am a firm believer that effective communication, along with active listening, are two of the top skills a leader needs to be successful.

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing how best to communicate with others in ways that are thoughtful and empowering, and that communication should always be a two-way street. However, there is an aspect of communication that can be – but shouldn't be – overlooked. What you say and your actions affect everyone around you. But so does your body language.

Non-verbal communication is just as important to your role as verbal and written communication, and it can also impact your performance.

Leaders who use body language wisely can reap the benefits of a much more engaged and productive relationships and workforce.

Let’s explore some powerful insights about body language:

  • There have been numerous studies on nonverbal communication with varying results and most experts agree that 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal.
  • Nonverbal communication includes your facial expressions as well as your gestures and the way you stand or sit.
  • When working with a diverse workforce, you need to recognize that each culture can have its own set of body language cues and gestures and be willing to accommodate accordingly.
  • Body language and emotional intelligence are closely related. Those who are more emotionally intelligent are highly adept at reading nonverbal cues, and they are more aware of their own body language tendencies.
  • Most body language is conveyed unconsciously — and that’s where self-awareness can be utilized so that you can improve your ability to communicate this way.
  • Lastly, now that we are working in a predominantly virtual world, how we communicate using body language is critical — even if you see yourself as just a “talking head” on a video call, people are still able to pick up on your nonverbal cues and nuances.

What Is Your Body Language Is Saying?

If you want to refine your body language to become a more effective communicator and leader, it starts with your level of self-awareness. Take time to pay attention to the way you stand and the gestures you make with your hands and arms. Try to notice how you treat the personal space of others. Are you making them uncomfortable by occupying their zone, or are you allowing them the space they need to perform and communicate well?

In virtual situations, pay attention to what your face and body do while you’re speaking or listening to others. Are you showing engagement by nodding, smiling, and using more open gestures? Or are you confusing others with a lack of expression or gestures that convey disengagement?

The Opposite of Good Body Language

A leader’s body language should never be used to intimidate others. Thankfully, most leaders are recognizing they can use their influence for good, particularly since there is so much more sensitivity paid to how we are communicating in our new world of work.

Leadership requires connection with others and an ability to use your communication skills for the betterment of your team, your organization and — hopefully — your community and the world around you.

Effective Leadership Means Having Balanced Communication 

One of your primary goals should be to practice effective, balanced and aligned communication. Simply said: You need to say what you mean and mean what you say. Ensure that your verbal and non-verbal communication are aligned, whether by voice, body or written. And as I mentioned at the beginning, active listening is also part of effective communication, so make sure you give this equal attention.

Through the practice of self-awareness and time spent developing your emotional intelligence, you can improve your communication skills.

Do You Have Communication Challenges?

Where do you stand on the importance of body language for effective leadership? Have you had to change the ways in which you engage in nonverbal communication as a leader? What have you observed about other leaders around you and how they communicate?

Communication is central to employee engagement, and if you are looking to improve how you communicate, please reach out. I’d be happy to offer insights and best practices to help you develop and deepen your all-round communication style.

Please call me 1.855.871.3374 or send me an email at

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