07 Dec SelfWare-Body Language and IOB (Part 3 of 4)
Bad Body Language is Bad Business
If you’ve been following Danielle’s story you might be thinking this body language stuff is no big deal. Maybe you’re thinking, I know how to look people in the eye. I try to smile and have a good handshake. That’s pretty much it, right? Does body language have anything to do with ‘Impact on Business?’
Body language certainly has an impact beyond interpersonal relationships. There are top executives who essentially shut down participation in their own meetings. They don’t realize it, but their body language tells employees to keep their mouths shut. Think about it. Imagine a staff meeting run by someone like Danielle. How does an employee feel when they share an idea and Danielle furrows her brow and says nothing? What do coworkers think when they make suggestions while Danielle crosses her arms and looks aloof?
When someone shows disengaging body language it makes the listener defensive rather than receptive. Danielle could be the most brilliant person in the world with the most amazing ideas anyone has ever heard. But if her colleagues aren’t receiving the message, it’s wasted. If she can’t show an appropriate level of engagement, then she can’t expect anyone else to listen to her.
With body language like that a leader is sending a clear message to their direct reports. Something like this: I don’t have time to hear what you have to say. You know how busy I am, right? Whether she intends them to or not, that’s the way people see and interpret Danielle. It’s very intimidating and shuts down the flow of ideas. Intimidation creates an environment that lacks trust and loyalty. Not a cooperative work environment.
People cannot work efficiently when they’re confused about the message coming down from the top. This can land Danielle and her agency in total crisis mode. How can she start to make changes in her body language?