Don’t make “that” face

August 3, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Good leaders know that they affect their employees in more ways than just giving orders and making decisions.

In his book “The Disciplined Leader,” John Manning emphasizes the importance of leaders understanding the importance of nonverbal communication. He cites a study showing that up to 55 percent of communication effectiveness is in facial expression and body language.

He suggests that leaders put on their game face, be aware of the messages they are sending in a variety of ways, and know that people can pick up on cues both spoken and unspoken. Manning wrote that a leader can lead by acting in the following ways:

Check “Monday blues” at the door. Emotions are contagious. It’s important for leaders to lose that Monday morning blues feeling before coming in to work. Paying attention to the person in the mirror will make a positive impact on reports, subordinates, peers and bosses. Make it an activity until it becomes a habit.

Correct nonverbal disengagement in meetings. Meeting participants think they’re not being observed if they’re not talking. Nothing could be further from the truth. Be engaged in a meeting, and look to see who else is engaged and who’s checking out. If someone has checked out, find out what is going on.

Watch emotions in personal crisis. Be careful and conscientious about what a leader will or should display during an event that is extremely personal.