The Nonverbal Body Language of a Leader

The Nonverbal Body Language of a Leader

According to Patrick and Kasia Wezowski, Micro expressions are tiny little facial expressions of half second or shorter that gives away how you feel. And they both believe that it is your body language code that can be used to predict your success. They started their research by asking themselves, what makes a leader successful. Stories were shared where about various life experiences that led to his lifelong focus on body language because of having a hearing disorder, as well as having a father who trained Olympians in fencing (a sport where body language is used to determine your opponents next move).

One of my favorite things to do is watch people. I love to watch people when they don’t know what I am watching. After which, I enjoy telling the person things I have been observing about them.  I had a mentor who told me to watch the things that people subconsciously do when they are excited, and then give them that same gesture back to make them excited about you!

Kasia Wezkowski’s story is a bit different although remaining focused on body language. She grew up analyzing peoples’ shoes, the way they walked in those shoes, and the things she could tell about someone based on how they walk. She was heavily influenced by her aunt who she had an admiration for and wanted to study psychology and human behavior, to make her aunt better. This all led to their joint and combined research on the body language that makes leaders successful. They compared sales people in BMW with other companies and noted differences in the way that sales agents responded to their customer’s micro-expressions.

Points about the differences in micro expressions between cultures, where a Japanese woman may hide her contempt with a smirk, where as a Philippine woman may grimace a bit more with her eyebrows when showing contempt. Entrepreneurs and leaders can consciously use their body language in a way that reinforces their company’s belief in their leadership. Also, knowing what body language to avoid is also an important aspect towards positive body language when leading. They showed leaders who made minor expressions that conveyed a lack of trust, and how the same leader can convey the same message in a more positive way.  

Look at these faces of CEOs, can you tell which ones are the most profitable?

"In this study by Nicholas Rule and Nalini Ambady, researchers asked participants to rate these CEO’s based on their picture. Their ratings accurately correlated to the amount of profits the CEOs made. Answers: J. David J. O’reilly (Chevron), G. James Mulva (Conoco Phillips), C. H. Lee Scott Jr.(Walmart)"

Micro-expressions are also a form of communication where people can feel judged, ridiculed, or moralized based on your facial expression or body language. Self-disclosure in the form of body language is something that leaders must also be aware of.

One of the more interesting examples of their research and analysis was that of an Oprah Winfrey and Lance Armstrong interview, where Oprah was inquiring and questioning Lance about his involvement in using performance enhancing drugs. They focus in on his lips where he curls and lifts them in a micro-expression that shows contempt…meaning he knows something Oprah doesn’t know and inwardly feels superior because of it. They advise you to look out for this facial micro-expression when negotiating with others.