November 29, 2018
Living the Dream!
I get this reply many times when asking a person how things are going. It usually comes with some type of quirky smile or facial gesture which contradicts the concepts behind the phrase.
So apparently your words don’t align with your present state of affairs.
This got me to thinking about how often this action of saying one thing but delivering a different message with your body language gets in the way of building your business.
The other day I was talking to a leader at a company and the owner came along to inquire about a specific subject matter. The dialogue ensued verbally but there was plenty of body language being shared. In my normal style of interjecting to capture a teachable moment, I had to inquire what and why there was a contradiction in the verbal dialogue and the body language. Both immediately went into a defensive posture and clarifying why this might have been the case. Neither of their reasonings held any reasonable bearing on the topic. Without getting into the details or topic of the conversation, let’s just say that after this was brought to their attention, the conversation took on a marked improvement. The details of the situation were more effectively shared and the quality of the conversation was evident to both of them. Oddly enough the real reasons for the posturing had nothing to do with the topic of this conversation but were left over from a different matter between the two leaders.
I thought to myself that it was good I happened to be at that place at that time to snuff out this useless posturing and get them to achieve a productive outcome. The challenge now, was that I was not going to be able to be at all of these day to day, minute by minute transactions in the company. What could be done?
I put the two of them on notice that we are a visual people. Actions speak louder than words and their behaviors and body language was screaming loudly. If someone in their company was in the hall screaming, they would take action to stop the person from screaming. They now needed to take note of their own nonverbal communication. The two of them worked it out with each other to have an open dialogue so that in future transactions, both gave each other the right to stop the other and point out the incongruency of their words and actions. This is just the starting point and we will see how this develops.
This week as you have conversations with your staff, take some mental notes about the words and body language you might be using to convey potentially different messages. Monitoring yourself is difficult so you may want to enlist your other leaders to watch and give you feedback. Use this as a self-development exercise so that you can not only verbally communicate but your words and actions are delivering the same message.
Don’t have a third party who holds you accountable and is willing to point out areas of self-improvement? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to engage your “Promise Guide.”
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