5 Body Language Secrets for Leaders: Transparency and Higher Standards

November 23, 2010

New York Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez is an astute leader. Earlier this year he instituted a financial penalty system against himself for every time he exhibited negative body language. It seems that during his rookie year (2009 – 2010), Sanchez constantly gave negative vibes to his teammates and coaches via his critical body language. All great leaders know the power of nonverbal communication. It will dramatically help you or hurt you. Sanchez is the field general. He doesn’t want his teammates feeling that he’s always blaming them for a bad play, poor execution, or a missed opportunity.


This self-deprecating and very public improvement system is a profound example of great leadership and transparency. By putting himself on the penalty block, he holds everyone else to a higher standard without bringing attention to teammates who are probably much more guilty of body language gaffes and poor attitude displays than he ever was. He’s making those around him better while at the same time he’s improving his own game.

So how does one become aware of their own body language? It doesn’t come easily, but here are a five valuable pointers:

1.  Invite constructive criticism. Take an example from Mr. Sanchez and have a small group of friends, family, or co-workers critique your nonverbal communication and fine you for every infraction. The fine doesn’t have to be large; you could even institute a fine jar to add a quarter every time you have an infraction. This will help to create and reinforce feedback loops, which will help to make you more self-aware.

2.  Study nonverbal communication informally and formally. Reading books, taking classes & courses (online and in person) as well as listening to audio-books are all great ways to increase your knowledge and skill in interpreting others’ body language. Seeing signals in others will make you more aware of your own tendencies.

3.  Practice “Breathing Awareness.” The practice of focusing on a subconscious physiologic act, such as breathing, will tend to make you aware of other subconscious acts, such as nonverbal communication. I strongly suggest doing this in a dark room for 10 minutes, twice daily. It’s magic.

4.  Sketch faces. Leonardo da Vinci felt that everyone should endeavor to draw, paint, or sculpt – not so they could be artists, but so they would become more observant. If you practice drawing faces a couple times a week during your lunch hour, distinctions will jump out at you that were previously lumped together in your mind. Remember, you don’t have to be anywhere close to perfect, just draw on a regular basis.

5. Watch interviews on TV with the sound off. This will heighten your awareness of the subtle aspects of body language that you may have previously glossed over. Take notes too. This is also a fantastic exercise for actors.

There are lots of people in leadership positions, but that alone certainly doesn’t constitute leadership. However, too many act like it does. Sanchez is the real-deal. Go Jets!

Dr. G. “Jack” Brown is a Board-Certified Physician and a Body Language Expert. He has studied, taught, and used body language all of his adult life. He welcomes the opportunity to coach, consult and provide keynote speaking to corporations, associations and leaders across North America. You can visit his blog at BodyLanguageSuccess.com and contact him at Jack@BodyLanguageSuccess.com and 702-239-8503.


10 Resourceful Leadership Tweeps You Should Follow

November 12, 2010

Twitter has established itself as a critical and useful social media tool.  Simply by using the # (hash sign) coupled with your choice topic, you can tune into a global conversation with immediate results. As student leaders, graduate assistants, and higher education professionals, your interest in leadership and getting the most up-to-date and best leadership content is paramount to your work. 

@Studentlifeguru has been following #Leadership for nearly a year.  Below is a listing of the Top 10 Tweeters of quality leadership resources:

1. @LeadershipNow – Michael McKinney from Pasadena, CA posts great leadership insight, quotes, articles and resources. Profile: Lead From Where You Are. LeadershipNow works to build leaders at all levels and in all contexts. http://www.leadershipnow.com

2. @TheLeaderLab – With over 10,000 followers, LeaderLab prides itself in the advancement of leadership theory and practice. Profile: LeaderLab is a community of resources dedicated to the advancement of leadership theory. http://theleaderlab.org

3. @LeaderInfluence – LeaderInfluence is hosting an online event by posting video of 30 influential leaders for you to view for free. Profile: LEADERSHIP & INFLUENCE SUMMIT. A free online event. 30+ Leading Experts Share Strategies on How To Maximize Leadership and Influence Effectiveness. http://www.LeadershipAndInfluenceSummit.com

4. @LeadershipFreak – Dan Rockwell is the face behind LeadershipFreak and hosts a comprehensive blog that covers leadership topics ranging from conflict resolution to personal growth. Profile: Blogger, committed to helping leaders reach higher in 300 words or less. Connecting, listening, learning. MBA-Happily married. http://www.leadershipfreak.wordpress.com

5. @DrJohnMcGinn – Dr. John McGinn publishes a free newsletter, and as an incentive for signing up for his newsletter, you can receive a free e-book entitled “How to Build Self-Esteem.” Profile: Executive Coach, Leadership Consultant: Helping others achieve a more compelling, goal-oriented life, filled with significance and success. http://drjohnmcginn.com

6. @JohnCMaxwell – John C. Maxwell is one of foremost authorites on leadership on the globe. He is most well-known for his books, including The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You and The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization. Profile: Bestselling author & speaker on leadership. Christian. Blogger. World traveler. Assisted here by Stephanie Wetzel (SW) admin@johnmaxwellonleadership.com http://johnmaxwellonleadership.com

7. @LeaderTalk – LeaderTalk is an awesome leadership blog  hosted by Mountain State University’s School of Leadership & Professional Development in Beckley, WV. They offer advice and free resources that you’ll find helpful! Profile: Mountain State University’s leadership blog. http://leadertalk.mountainstate.edu

8. @simonsinek – Simon Sinek hails from New York and offers insightful nuggets of information that are thought-provoking and useful in working with and leading people. Profile: To run and jump and laugh and cry and love and hope and imagine…to experience as much as I can all for one purpose: to inspire. http://www.simonsinek.com

9. @BrianKDodd – Brian Dodd is from Woodstock, GA and has an interesting and neat spin on leadership with a religious flair and a penchant for sports and pop culture. Profile: Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. http://www.briandoddonleadership.com

10. @Nunavut_Teacher – Our friend from the Great White North (Nunavut, Canada) is a dedicated educator. I contend that leaders are teachers, and Brian offers great Tweets that any leader can benefit from! Profile: Grade9Teacher, thinker, change advocate, idea man, guitar man, technology guy, self directed learner, adding creativity into everything I do. http://nunavutteacher.blogspot.com/

Feel free to comment to this post, and let us know who you follow that offers great leadership advice, resources, and inspiration.

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