What Teachers Know About Body Language that Business Leaders Should Learn
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best educators could teach business leaders a thing or two about body
in the Classroom, one of the most controversial publications
in the history of educational research, showed how a teacher’s
expectations can motivate student achievement. This classic study gave
prospective teachers a list of students who had been identified as
“high achievers.” The teachers were told to expect remarkable results
from these students, and at the end of the year, the students did
indeed make sharp increases on their test scores.
reality, these children were not high achievers, but had been chosen at
random from the entire pool of pupils. It was the teachers’ belief in
their potential that was responsible for their exceptional results; a
belief that was communicated not directly (the students were never told
they were special), but subliminally through nonverbal cues.
much the same way, a leader’s expectations of employees’ potential (as
expressed by that leader’s nonverbal behavior) can also play a key role
in determining how well people perform at work. This effect was
described in a Psychology Today article,
Leadership: The Power of Positive Expectations."
language is the management of time, space, appearance, posture,
gesture, touch, expression, eye contact, and vocal prosody -- how you
say what you say. From a body language perspective, teachers (and
business leaders) send two sets of signals.
set of signals conveys status, power, and confidence. You send these
signals by standing tall, using steepling or palms-down hand gestures,
keeping your head straight, minimizing facial expressions, gesturing
between your waist and shoulders, and speaking in a deep and forceful
tone of voice.
are many occasions where educators and leaders would want to emphasize
their competence and authority. But when trying to engage and motivate
students or staff, these signals usually send the wrong message.
second set of nonverbal signals conveys empathy, likeability,
friendliness, and inclusiveness. These body language cues include a
relaxed posture, smiles, open palm gestures, forward leans, vocal
variety -- and the eye contact, head nods and head tilts that
nonverbally show approval and encourage others to keep speaking.
who thought they had the high-achieving pupils used more of these
warmth signals, and in doing so encouraged the exceptional performance
they secretly expected. It’s something that more business leaders
About the Author
Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.is an international
Keynote speaker on collaborative leadership and the impact of
language in the workplace.
coach to executives to improve their leadership presence and
Leadership blogger for Forbes and author of "The Silent Language of
Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - or Hurt - How You Lead.”
Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com Authors Google+
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-05-09 09:05:38 in Employee Articles