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Leaders Need Flexible Body Language

From Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman:

Before the meeting began, Adam had assumed a “power pose,” standing with hands on hips and feet wide apart, for two full minutes, to get all the advertised benefits of doing so. And it worked. He could almost feel his stress level lowering and his self-confidence rising. By the time he strode into the conference room, took his place at the head of the table, and made strong eye contact with all the participants, Adam exuded authority, power and status.

Eve was at a different meeting. Naturally empathetic and likable, Eve smiled a lot, nodded to encourage others to continue speaking and tilted her head, in the universal sign of “giving someone your ear.” She waited politely before interjecting her own thoughts, and when she did, she spoke in a soft warm voice.

Adam’s leadership assignment was to facilitate a highly collaborative meeting in which all team members were expected to share insights and concerns about an upcoming project.

Eve’s meeting was her first strategy session with senior leaders, and an opportunity to enhance her “leadership presence” by being perceived as credible and competent.

Both Adam and Eve exhibited good leadership body language.

Both made bad choices.

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