When it comes to communicating, leaders don’t have a choice. They are always communicating—even when they aren’t talking. The photo of Ravens coach John Harbaugh shortly after his team’s loss to the San Diego Chargers on a last second touchdown reinforces that point. During his press conference, Harbaugh’s body language said far more than his words. The transcript of this press conference would lead you to believe the coach felt sad, maybe a little disappointed, very matter of fact. The message of his body language screams a very different message: DETERMINATION.
The farther up your company’s organizational chart you stand, the more your non-verbal communication sends loud messages. You have not choice in the matter. Leaders are always communicating because their followers are always looking to them and presuming they understand the message based on what they see.
So for a leader the key is two fold:
- Know you are always communicating
- Have an awareness of what message you want to send
Miscommunication takes place when leaders forget that they’re always communicating and accidentally send a different message then they had in mind.
John Harbaugh’s message is one of determination and defiance, setting his will against anyone who thinks his team can’t bounce back from a disappointing loss and still reach their goal of making the playoffs.
Now it’s your turn. What’s the message you want to send to your followers? Are you sending it with what you show and not just what you say?