“10 Rare New Body Language Secrets For Successful Leadership” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Like a tailor, someone’s body language alters their words based on the mental fit of the person perceiving them.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert  

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People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

As someone in leadership, you constantly emit body language gestures that impact your leadership abilities. That is true because those you lead take cues from your words and the gestures that accompany them. Thus, you must become more aware of your body language to engage in successful leadership.

The following 10 body language secrets will allow you to become a better leader, and people will follow your lead more readily.

1. Both Arms Crossed

Body language experts have said much about someone being closed-minded, immovable, and not being open to input when displaying crossed arms. Like any body language gesture, to be a more effective leader, you should note when it occurred, what conditions induced it, and how long the crossed arms lasted.

If someone displayed the gesture you were interacting with, consider how you might alter that person’s perspective. If it was your reaction to what was said, ponder the nonverbal response you are sending and adjust it if it is unsuitable.

2. One Arm Cross

A single-arm cross can convey authority and a degree of openness while stating that you are in charge, approachable, and mildly open to proposals. Be mindful of your hand movement when displaying this gesture. If you rub your chest or arm while making this exhibit, you are indicating that you are attempting to soothe yourself, silently suggesting you are uncomfortable, which can weaken your leadership.

3. Posture

How you stand, sit, and walk gives others input to assess how good of a leader you think you are. They infer such information because of the images created of what a good leader is.

As someone in a leadership role, that is another reason to be mindful of your posture. You can communicate information without speaking (e.g., in a solemn situation – sitting reverently, engaging – slightly bent forward, etc.).

To have others perceive you as a more commanding leader, stand tall with your shoulders back while maintaining an open posture. This stance will also silently communicate authority.

4. The Finger Bridge

The finger bridge gesture entails touching the fingertips of your third and fourth fingers from your thumb. It is a way to signal exactitude while simultaneously signaling command of your topic. As someone in leadership, you can display this gesture before stating a point you wish to amplify per its importance and your command of it.

5. The Steeple

Sometimes, the finger bridge becomes a steeple, fingertips touching on both hands aligned like a church steeple. The gesture conveys your confidence in your expertise in the matter under discussion.

There are several forms of this gesture. It emits a quiet sign of authority and engagement when held at waist level. The gesture can project higher authority when displayed chest high. And when displayed at the face level, it can become construed as seeking the projection of authority. Thus, leaders should be mindful of how and to whom they exhibit this signal. People will perceive it differently.  

6. The Head Nod

Another strong body language gesture leaders should be mindful of is the head nod; statements like, they gave me the nod of approval may come to mind.

When those in leadership give followers a head nod, it silently indicates that the leader approves of the topic. It is a quiet way of signaling that people are on the right track and they should continue their pursuit.

7. The One Foot Raise

The one-foot-raised gesture (i.e., heel on the floor and toes elevated) is a sign that signals speed it up. When displayed by someone standing, it suggests that the person will depart from the conversation; they will usually do so in the direction of their pointed foot.

Note this motion. It suggests the leader no longer wants to engage in the current conversation. It also signals that the discussed topic is less prioritized than a leader’s other activities.

8. Hand Karate Chop

Leaders wishing to convey a sense of finality can issue a karate chop – a downward hand gesture – to finalize their sentiments. It is a definitive way to signal via body language that it is time to stop talking and take action.

9. The Pointing Finger

When a person extends their index finger, they are emphasizing a point. They are saying, focus on my statement. It is important.

When someone in leadership uses this gesture, it can demand greater attention simply because it stems from the leader. Thus, this gesture can add extra-weighted meaning when applied in demanding situations.

10. The Thinker

To signal contemplation and deep thinking, leaders can place a hand on their chin while resting the index finger on their cheek. Leadership could use this gesture to convey they were seriously considering the topic of discussion.


When used effectively, body language gestures empower those in leadership positions to build better relationships with their followers. Thus, in leadership roles, leaders must be highly attuned to how they represent their thoughts and actions via body language. Their perceived competence, abilities, and leadership depend on it.

Yes, body language can enhance your leadership – it can also drown it in a murky swamp of mixed perceived messages. That is why everyone, especially in leadership, should be mindful of the messages they send through their body language.

By implementing the 10 body language gestures mentioned, you will become a better leader and enrich your leadership position. And everything will be right with the world.

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After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

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