It’s like the old saying goes: “Actions speak louder than words.”
When it comes to communicating in the workplace, body language can sometimes be overlooked. But a supervisor with a firm understanding of an employee’s involuntary reactions to situations can better determine who’s committed and who’s not.
The American Management Association prepared a good list of body language tells that managers should definitely know inside and out. Share these with your supervisors after you’ve mastered the list yourself.
Head to toe
- Eyes: Decrease in eye contact will be your first clue for a disengaged employee. When their eyes go from wide open to slightly narrow, almost squinting, it means they’re having trouble understanding.
- Mouth: Pursed lips, clenched jaw muscles, or a turned head with sideways eye contact are all signs of disagreement.
- Torso: When shoulders are turned away from whoever’s speaking, you’ve lost their interest. Engaged people will face you directly, with their torsos pointed in your direction. Someone shielding their torso from you with a purse, briefcase or laptop is a sign of defensiveness.
- Legs: When their feet are pulled away from you, wrapped tightly together, pointed toward the exit or wrapped around legs of a chair, it’s a sign of withdrawal.
When you spot this behavior, check your own body language to make sure you aren’t reciprocating this. Then consider changing your approach or force them to open up by making them move around: Hand them a report, brochure or a cup of coffee.
Do you noticed certain body language tells from your employees? Let us know in the comments below.