Common Body Language Mistakes Managers Make

Good leadership isn’t just about what you say. Your tone and body language communicate to employees, even if they aren’t conscious of it. As a manager, you need to make sure you’re sending the right messages during your interactions. Whether you’re leading a meeting or having a one-on-one chat with a valued team member, here are a few body language mistakes you could be making without realizing it.

Not Making Eye Contact

In an era where text and email alerts are constantly coming in, it’s important that you give your full attention to the employee standing in front of you. This is especially important with those whose dominant personality trait is Influence, as outlined in TTI Success Insights’ D.I.S.C.: The Language of Observable Behavior. Influence-dominated personalities respond best when their managers genuinely care about their goals and concerns. Give your team your full attention and you’ll be rewarded in improved morale and increased productivity.


There are few employees who will respond well to aggressive behavior, but you’ll especially find it counterproductive with Dominance-led personalities. These individuals respond better when issues are presented logically. In fact, if you stand too close, clench your fists, or point and jab at someone led by Dominance, you may find the situation escalates to a point of serious conflict.

Invading Personal Space

A close cousin of aggressiveness, invading someone’s personal space is always a bad idea. It smacks of micromanagement and can even get you in legal trouble if the behavior makes your employee uncomfortable. Compliance-dominated personalities particularly have trouble with overbearing bosses. It’s important to give these team members clearly-outlined expectations and step away to let them do their work.

Slouching or Slumping

When it comes down to it, your employees want to put their confidence in you, their fearless leader. Steadiness-led personalities are especially affected by leaders who can create this type of security. If you slouch, you’re sending a message that you lack confidence, no matter how you feel inside. In fact, one study found that slouching at work can get you fired. Take an honest look at your posture, as well as your walk. It may take time, but standing straight, shoulders back and head held high, will become second nature.

Throughout the day, you’re communicating without even saying a word. If you’re in a leadership role, that means it’s important to make sure you’re conveying the right message. By being aware of your non-verbal interactions, you’ll be making an important first step toward improving your communications with your team.

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