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Is Your Body Language Harming Your Promotion Chances?

Is Your Body Language Harming Your Promotion Chances?

I’m sure you’ve heard from someone before that 80 or even 90 percent of our communication with one another comes from our body language or seen as non-verbal. This statistic has been batted around so much that we just believe it as soon as we hear it. But it is actually true? To put it bluntly; it depends. While the majority of our communication with people is from our body language, it doesn’t always tell the whole tale. The environment a person is in or how well you know a person can drastically change the impact of body language on communication. However, in an office environment, taking a mental note of your body language and changing accordingly can go a long way to securing yourself a promotion. Meeting new people has become a regular occurrence in modern offices, and presenting yourself in a way that fits the situation is vital if you want to give a good first impression. Not only can you change your body language to impress new clients, but it can also have a big impact on how your co-workers and your boss perceive you within the office.

    No matter how smart you are or how awesome your performance reviews have been, your body language may still be holding you back from a truly deserved promotion because you come across timid, quiet and lacking confidence. Put these few tips into practice to take that next step to a well deserved promotion:

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    Calming Body Language

    A business environment can easily become stressful when things aren’t going your way. Having a calming body language can have a significant impact on other people’s moods. A stressful or threatening presence can escalate a situation which is never helpful.

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    • Open gestures – By keeping your movements and gestures relaxed and open will keep the conversation calm. Showing the palms of your hands says “I have nothing to hide” which will keep people around you relaxed. This is especially useful in a meeting. Closing in on yourself (such as crossed arms) tells people you are nervous and unwilling.
    • Remember to smile – It may sound like an obvious one but you’d be surprised how many people forget to smile. Smiling shows confidence and positivity. Chances are, if you smile at someone, they will smile back.

    Rapport-Building Body Language

    Building a rapport with a colleague, your boss or a client is always a good thing and it works especially well in an interview.

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    • Mirroring – Mirroring body posture and movements is a great way to tell the person you are communicating with that you are a ‘friend’ and not a ‘foe’. While this tactic can work in an array of environments, be careful with it. The trick is to do it subtly. If the person cons onto the fact you are mirroring them they may become agitated.
    • Use contact – A simple touch of the arm or a pat on the back can go a long way to securing a rapport with someone you may have lost all hope with. Plucking up the courage to do so may be hard for some people, but it shows a sign of appreciation and respect to one another.

    Assertive Body Language

    • Stand tall and take up space – Again, what may seem like an obvious thing to do, many people don’t. Take note at the way you stand next time you are conversing with a fellow co-worker or your boss. By keeping your posture erect and your shoulders back, you will exude confidence and grab people’s attention. Not only can you do that, but take up more space as you do it. By walking around you will add to that impression and gather respect.
    • Strong handshake – Meeting anyone important for the first time can be nervous occasion for some people. More so if you offer a limp hand shake. Take command of the situation and grip the other person’s hand firmly. Remember, this is not a contest! Don’t crush the other persons hand to the point of awkwardness.

    With that all said, it’s now time to put it into practice. But try these tips one at a time, so not to come across as ‘trying too hard’. Not only do these tips offer a great way to build relationships with existing co-workers, they are also useful for putting into practice on a nervous first day of work at a new place. Surviving your first day at a brand new job can be stressful and it’s always worth being prepared. I thought it would also be worth mentioning a few things not to do at work which may hinder people’s positive impression of you:

    1. Avoid your pockets
    2. Don’t fidget
    3. Never bite your nails
    4. Standing too close is a big no-no
    5. Touching your face is an indication of deception
    6. Avoid crossing your arms
    7. Do not frantically tap your fingers or feet

    Related Article: 15 Tricks To Read Body Languages

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    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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