More and more leaders are becoming aware of the role emotional intelligence plays in a successful workplace. Long gone are the days of harsh authority generating positive results – in today’s world, you need to establish real connections with your team and show empathy if you want them to follow you.
Demonstrating emotional intelligence often happens verbally, but it can also be conveyed through body language. If you want to create camaraderie with your team members, experts at Forbes Coaches Council offered their best nonverbal tips for accomplishing it.
1. Practice Engaged, Active Listening (Without Taking Notes)
If you take notes like a court reporter, it may come across as you are documenting something. Listen and verbally summarize what your team is saying and ask questions to get the team to respond. Don’t furiously take notes on your laptop or a notepad. Engage with your eyes and let people talk, listening with compassion. Say things like, “Let me know if this is what you are saying.” – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
2. Sit Next To Your Team Members Instead Of At The Head Of The Table
Preferably, change the shape of your decision-making tables from rectangular to round. If that’s not possible and you are stuck with rectangular tables, don’t sit at the head of the table, and don’t always run meetings yourself. Rotate that responsibility, and then participate as if you were one of the team. That’s the strongest body language — being one with them, not standing apart. – Gaurav Bhalla, Knowledge Kinetics
3. Adopt Empathetic Mannerisms
Empathy is one of the components of emotional intelligence, and 55% of communication is body language. Empathy can be communicated by being fully present to your team through squared shoulders, a soft focus in your eye contact, nodding of your head when they are expressing themselves and having your arms at your sides. When it is time to respond, first reflect back to them what you heard them say. – Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., Success Starts With You
4. Use Your Eyebrows
Eyebrows express empathy really well. While no one body part alone will ever cut it, you can convey so much with your eyebrows. While making eye contact, shift your eyebrows upward slightly as you tighten your forehead. This shows that you are concerned. You care. You’re right there with them. Add a little squeeze of your cheeks, purse the lips and a slight tilt of your head to really connect. – Laurie Sudbrink, Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc.
5. Mirror The Other Person’s Body Language
When speaking to a group, open yourself up. Put your shoulders back with arms relaxed and slightly out to the side. Use your hand to motion to the group and then yourself, as though connecting the two. For one-on-one conversations, match/mirror their body language and voice tone, speed and energy to leverage the like attracts like principle to build a bond of trust naturally. – Lisa Kaye McDonald, Career Polish, Inc.
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