Are you projecting a positive image and therefore a positive attitude? It’s called a good first impression and it necessary for any leader to create and maintain. People make a decision about a leader within the first 3-5 seconds of meeting him/her. When a good first impression is backed up by a positive attitude and performance results, a leader creates follows rather than acquiring staff.
How is your dress? Appropriate for your job? Too casual? Too formal? What are you trying to communicate with your clothing? I know of two business owners, one who wears suits and ties and one who wears polo shirts. Either one is fine but it can send a confusing message to staff who don’t know which dress code to model.
Do you make nervous gestures such as fiddling with your cuffs, your tie, your jewelry, your hair, the change in your pockets? Do you put your hands in your pockets or cross your arms over your chest? These are all very defensive movements and send a message to your staff that you are nervous and uncomfortable.
Do you make people around you feel uncomfortable by putting your arms behind your back, rocking back and forth on your feet, clasping your hands on top of your head? These are signs of dominance and superiority. How do you think they make your followers/staff feel?
Do you show everyone, regardless of status or title, a gracious attitude—as if they are the most important person that you will meet today? Your words may say this to them but it is your body language and the messages you communicate nonverbally that really convinces them of your true feelings. Do you make eye contact? Have a genuine smile? Extend your hand out first to shake hands? Remove barriers such as desks or tables when having a conversation? When you do, your nonverbal messages speak so much louder than words.
The leader not only speaks with authority but it is his/her nonverbal communication that followers and staff notice and absorb before the verbal message is ever considered. By understanding how you look, the impression you make and the nonverbal messages you send, you position yourself as a true leader–someone people want to be around, listen to, model and respect.