5 Ways to Show Leadership Through Body Language

5 Ways to Show Leadership Through Body Language

Some people have the ability to win you over with just a handful of words – whereas others can repel you without uttering a single syllable. That’s the power of body language.

Studies have shown that – in a variety of situations – human communication is 55% body language. Tone of voice and spoken words are the other two contributing factors, making up 38% and 7% of communication respectively.

In a business setting, there are times where you need to communicate authority and leadership in a way that’s not intimidating or pompous. And that’s tricky.

The solution? Body language. Here are five simple ways to make it work.

1. Hands Behind Your Back

Nervous people subconsciously try to hide their vital organs with their hands as they speak. This involves crossing the arms, fidgeting with clothing, and touching the face. It looks weak.

You may have noticed that politicians often place their hands behind their backs as a show of confidence and strength. It leaves vital organs exposed and vulnerable – and only a truly comfortable person would do that.  

2. Eye Contact

When a person is embarrassed, they hide their faces and look away from the gaze of others. In times of confidence though, eye contact is maintained.

You want to perpetuate those confident moments by giving people a generous dose of eye contact when you are talking, as well as when they’re talking.

Don’t stare for too long though, or you’ll be branded a bit of a creep.

3. Powerful Posture

The way you stand (and sit) says a lot about your mental state.

To appear more confident and in control, maintain a straight yet relaxed posture whether you are sitting or standing.  You can achieve this by keeping a relatively straight spine whilst allowing your shoulders to relax.

4. Palms Down

You may have heard that showing your palms is a gesture of openness and trustworthiness. But what about when you need to make a non-negotiable point? Openness isn’t the trait you want to be showcasing at that time.

Turning your palms towards the ground or desk however, indicates sternness and control over the subject at hand (pun intended).

Basically, the direction that your palms face can tell a story about you. So make sure they aren’t saying anything they shouldn’t.

5. Dominant Handshakes

Handshakes are universal gestures of trust and friendliness that almost all humans do upon greeting each other. But they’re also excellent ways to measure confidence – or the lack thereof.

Nothing screams weakness louder than a limp handshake, and nothing quite introduces a leader like a firm one.

Don’t overdo it though, as an overly tight squeeze will make it seem like you’re trying too hard. The key here, as per usual, is to strike the right balance.

Act Like a Leader

Holding a leadership position and being a leader are two very different things. You don’t need the title to be considered a leader – you just have to act like one.

The body language cues listed above will help you do that, but be sure to wield any power you gain gracefully, without mistreating your subordinates.

Got any other body language tips that leaders should know about? Tell us about them in the comments section below!

About the Author

Kaya Ismail is a wordsmith and founder of Employ the Internet. He is a seasoned content marketer with a love for video games and coffee.

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