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The Silent Language of Leaders

How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead

By Carol Kinsey Goman
13-minute read
Audio available
The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead by Carol Kinsey Goman

Strong leaders have to project the right body language and be able to read it well in their team members if they want to lead them to success. The Silent Language of Leaders (2011) offers tips for reading and controlling body language, even in cultures where social cues differ.

  • Anyone in a leadership position
  • Anyone who works in a multicultural environment
  • Anyone interested in body language or psychology

Carol Kinsey Goman is a leadership coach, management consultant, keynote speaker and the president of Kinsey Consulting Services. She has published eleven books.

 

© Carol Kinsey Goman: The Silent Language of Leaders copyright 2011, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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The Silent Language of Leaders

How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead

By Carol Kinsey Goman
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead by Carol Kinsey Goman
Synopsis

Strong leaders have to project the right body language and be able to read it well in their team members if they want to lead them to success. The Silent Language of Leaders (2011) offers tips for reading and controlling body language, even in cultures where social cues differ.

Key idea 1 of 8

Strong leadership requires good communication – body language included.

Let’s start at the very beginning. Strong leaders need strong communication skills. Good communication, though, is about more than words. It’s about body language too.

You won’t convince or inspire anyone without the right body language. Even worse, you might make a bad first impression. However, the right body language – conveyed through your posture, gesticulations, facial expressions, eye contact, touch and smell – will help you build empathy with whoever you’re communicating with.

As a leader, your body language is interpreted and judged almost instantly. In fact, studies show that we evaluate a person’s credibility, confidence, likeability and trustworthiness within seven seconds of meeting them. Seven seconds! That’s well before you can deliver your well-written speech.

How does it happen so fast? Well, because of how the brain works. Body language is fundamentally rooted in the brain’s limbic system.

The limbic system is a set of brain structures responsible for emotion and memory. It’s the part of the brain that receives and processes emotional information. In that way, it serves as a kind of alarm system. As it first receives information, it quickly determines if something is threatening.

Since humans are all wired the same way, and we all have a limbic system, body language is more or less the same across different cultures. Basic expressions of fear, surprise and anger are all the same around the world. That’s also why body language was one of the earliest forms of human communication. It allowed early humans to decide within seconds if a person was a friend or a threat.

Thankfully, nowadays we don’t rely on body language to stay alive, but it remains an important skill in business.

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