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7 Body Language Habits of Effective Managers

7 Body Language Habits of Effective Managers

Congratulations! You’ve reached the point in your career where you are managing other people. This means you have reached some success in your field–whether you are a stellar sales person, a seasoned financial planner, or a skilled architect.

But being deft with numbers or a killer negotiator doesn’t mean you know how to be the kind of manager people want to work for. In fact, many skilled professionals find themselves promoted into positions of authority without a clue how to convey the traits of a good leader.

If this sounds like you, it might be time to “fake it till you make it” and start taking control of the most powerful communication tool you have: your body language.

Here are seven leadership traits and the body language habits that will make your employees feel lucky to have you as their boss.

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To convey integrity, sync your words and actions.

1

    We tend to believe more of what we see than what we hear, so if you’re encouraging collaboration, don’t cross your arms or shove your hands in your pockets. If you’re extolling the bright future of a new product, don’t drop your gaze or shift in your seat. If you’re delivering bad news, don’t grin. And never give your attention, even for a second, to a text message or phone call. Better yet, leave your phone in your bag or at your desk.

    To convey authority, take up physical space.

    6

      Rather than slouch in your seat, sit up straight and tall. Deliberately extend your arms, legs, and even your belongings into the space around you. Place your hands on the armrests, stretch out your legs, or place a notebook on the table as an “extension” of yourself. When you take up space, you signal that you are engaged, present, and here to make decisions. When you curl up into your chair or shrink into a corner, you’re saying: I’d rather follow than lead.

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      To convey approachability, position yourself at an angle.

      11

        If you’re a more aggressive personality type who naturally takes up space and easily conveys authority, your employees may be intimidated by you. Your goal should be to help them feel comfortable approaching you and sharing their ideas. Next time you are in a one-on-one discussion, take note of your body position. Are you aimed straight on to the other person? Are you invading their space? If so, take a step back and stand (or sit) at a 45-degree angle. This changes the vibe of the conversation, taking pressure off the other person so they can relax, think, and regain composure.

        To convey control, keep your body still.

        4

          No matter how you might feel inside, never reveal impatience, anxiety, or boredom. Fidgeting, pacing, head nodding, leg twitching, toe tapping, face-touching, hair-pulling, chair-twirling–all of these behaviors signal a lack of self-control, which will not reassure your employees about your leadership abilities. If you’re a natural fidgeter, practice planting your feet firmly on the ground and letting your hands hang by your sides when you stand. When sitting, keep your lower body (and chair) in one place.

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          To convey confidence, show vulnerability.

          12

            People who lack confidence often use “self-soothing” body language that closes them off from others. Next time you are presenting to a group or talking one-on-one, observe your natural tendencies. Do you cross your arms, entwine your legs, put your hands in your pockets, or wring your hands? These behaviors signal insecurity and lack of confidence. Conversely, opening up your body shows vulnerability and signals confidence. So keep your shoulders back, chin up, hands by your sides, and legs uncrossed.

            To convey empathy, listen actively.

            13

              Sure, you’re busy; you’ve got a dozen things on your mind and a mountain of things to do. But if you’ve taken the time to talk to someone, don’t let your “busyness” show. Instead, make them feel like the most important person in your world. While they’re talking, make eye contact, cock your head to the side, nod, and match your facial expressions to the spirit of what they’re saying. When it’s your turn to speak, don’t be in a hurry. Pause, take a breath, nod, and consider everything you have heard. Then respond thoughtfully, repeating back the essence of what the person just said.

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              To convey high expectations, control your facial expressions.

              5

                Your facial expressions alone are capable of demoralizing your employees and diminishing their odds of success. Consider the subtle message you convey when you roll your eyes, raise your eyebrows, frown, or purse your lips. Before you enter a meeting with your employees, be sure your face is free of tension by stretching your jaw and relaxing your facial muscles. Then, keep a neutral or positive expression on your face throughout the meeting.

                How are your body language habits? Take the Quiz.

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                Sharen Ross

                Marketing Strategy Consultant

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                Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

                How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

                Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

                So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

                1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

                Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

                For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

                Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

                “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

                2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

                These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

                This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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                But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

                Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

                For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

                There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

                3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

                It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

                Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

                4. Use Your Phone Wisely

                Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

                If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

                5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

                If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

                In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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                One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

                6. Use a “To Don’t” List

                We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

                But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

                Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

                7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

                When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

                Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

                “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

                And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

                8. Be Concise

                Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

                One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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                Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

                • Making new contacts
                • Talking about yourself at a job interview
                • Meeting people at conferences or parties
                • Phone calls to new clients

                9. Ask the Right Questions

                “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

                How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

                When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

                Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

                Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

                10. Learn as Much as You Can

                You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

                Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

                “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

                11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

                No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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                If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

                What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

                Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

                12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

                As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

                But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

                The Bottom Line

                The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

                Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

                More About Working Smart

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                Reference

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