Using Body Language as a Business Leader

Using Body Language as a Business Leader

As a business leader, you have to develop plenty of skills. Leadership means wearing many different hats and accomplishing many different tasks over the course of the day. One of the most important skills you’ll learn, however, is how to use your body language in order to impact the attitude and motivation of your employees. 

Contagious Attitude: The Power of a Smile

When you’re stuck in the middle of a stressful day, the last thing you want to do is paste a smile on your face and pretend that everything is going well. This simple action, however, can make a big difference, not just for you, but for your employees, as well. When you smile, your employees will be more likely to smile back at you. The simple action lowers stress hormones and releases hormones into the reward centers of the brain, thereby making your entire team feel better about the stressful day you’re having. Not only that, when you smile, you’ll increase your own satisfaction, which makes it more likely that you’ll remember to do things like complementing the employees who have gone above and beyond for you during this difficult time.

Keep Your Head Straight

Confidence is one thing; being cocky is something else entirely. When you’re in a meeting or listening to someone else speak, make an effort to keep your head straight. Tilting it to the side gives an impression of cockiness, which is not the impression you want to convey.

Use the Right Tone

Your tone of voice has a huge impact on how people perceive you. You can say all the right words, but if your voice doesn’t hit the right level, your employees aren’t going to respond to it the way you want. A confident leader typically displays several key characteristics in their speech:

  • A lower pitched voice
  • Sentences that are carried confidently through to completion rather than dropping off at the end
  • Dynamic inflection
  • Clear articulation

Control Movement to Attract Attention

When you want the eyes of the employees you’re managing to be on you, move to attract their attention before you speak. You’ll find that people are naturally drawn to movement, which means that shifting your position by just a step or two is enough to make sure that there are more eyes on you. Ceasing movement helps to underscore the point that you’re making once they’re looking at you–not to mention making you appear more decisive.

Reduce the Appearance of Tension

When you are calm, relaxed, and confident, you’re more likely to inspire the same emotions in everyone around you. By reducing the appearance of tension, you can substantially change the attitude of the room. After all, you believe in your employees and their ability to accomplish the goal in front of them–that means they can believe in themselves, too. A few simple exercises can help you learn to relax the natural tension in your face, neck, and shoulders, changing the image you present to everyone around you.

Pay Attention to Employees

If you want to increase the odds that people will participate in a discussion, share their problems with you, or give their best to projects that you’ve assigned, the best tactic is to ensure that they know you care about their participation–that is, to look like you’re listening. Don’t multitask during meetings or when an employee is talking to you. Instead of talking over them, take the time to listen to everything they have to say before formulating your response. These simple steps can make a big difference in how you are perceived by your employees.

Learning to use body language to your advantage is a great way to make more out of every interaction you have with the employees who work with you. By practicing a few simple controls, you can change the way they perceive you, shape your workplace culture, and better motivate every employee throughout the business. 

Michael DeSafey is a leading executive recruiter for professionals in the construction, engineering and environmental industries. He is currently the President of Webuild Staffing . To learn more about Michael or to follow his blog please visit