Optimum Body Language of Team Managers
Improved team productivity and job satisfaction:
Working on developing a charismatic body language as a leader has been found to improve the team’s productivity and job satisfaction (Furnham & Petrova, 2010).
Spreading positivity within the work team:
Research says that your mood and emotions as the manager can influence the overall mood of the work team. (Cherulnik et al., 2001; Goman, 2011; Hatfield et al., 1994; Sy et al., 2005). For example, while setting goals for completing an innovative project, there might be uncertainty in the air about the feasibility of the project. In such a case, if you appear optimistic and in control, the positive mood will spread within the team, and they will be motivated to put in their best and make the project work. On the other hand, if you appear stressed or unsure, the rest of the team will also start feeling the same way about the project, which would negatively affect their motivation to work and the actual end result of the project as well. It has also been found that conflicts are less likely to occur in groups that are in an overall positive mood (Barsade, 2002), which in turn bodes well for the productivity and work satisfaction of the team.
Ensuring that your body language is in line with what you are talking about is an important aspect of effective communication to look out for. When your verbal and non-verbal language do not match, it makes what you're saying seem less credible; because in case of such a mismatch, people are more likely to believe your body language (Goman, 2011). Therefore, learning to exhibit the right kind of body language will go a long way in improving the style and effectiveness of your communication.
- Supplementing what you verbally communicate with your team with matching facial expressions retains the interest and attention of your subordinates besides showing that you really believe in what you are putting forth (Howell & Frost, 1989).
- As discussed earlier, demonstrating power and competence through your body language besides warmth and charisma is of equal importance to be taken seriously as a manager. This can be achieved by-
- Maintaining an erect posture with shoulders straightened up,
- Maintaining an open and expansive posture such that you take up as much physical space as it takes for you to feel comfortable, instead of crouching up which makes you look timid (Goman, 2011).
- Practicing a firm handshake grip can help you go a long way when it comes to exuding control and confidence (Goman, 2011; Pease & Pease, 2004).
- Of course, maintaining steady eye contact is always a bonus in this case.
- As an effective manager, it is also important for you to be able to read the body language of your team, so that you get an idea about whether or not they're on the same page as you. For example, when your subordinate gradually orients their upper and lower body away from you, it indicates that they’re disengaged from the discussion you might be having. In such a case, understanding what it may mean and pointing out your observations to them may help you address the situation.
In case you’re concerned about how you might organically be able to implement all the above suggestions, there’s good news for you. Research has found that there’s an incredible connection between our body and mind (Zajonc et al., 1989), through which your emotions and demeanor can be influenced by the kind of body language you consciously or unconsciously adopt. This happens through activation of the autonomic nervous system (which is a part of our nervous system in charge of controlling internal bodily mechanisms such as heart rate and blood pressure), which makes our body experience the same sensations that genuine emotions would produce. For instance, intentionally depicting the emotion of say, anxiety, with facial features would lead you to actually experience the emotion physically by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Using the same logic, with practice, as you learn to embrace the above suggestions, a confident and charismatic body
Language will become less of an intentional and conscious action, and will start becoming second nature to you!