I’m spending time in France where I don’t, decidedly, know the language.
Thus, rather than talk, I watch.
In markets and streets, you pass by hundreds of people. You can tell most of them don’t assume they are being watched. But, they are. At the very least I’m watching them. Maybe others are as well.
Some appear unhappy. Their faces creased with frowns. Their figures stooped with burdens. Others carry themselves with confidence, nodding as they pass.
There is a decided difference.
I’m guessing some aren’t as low as they look.
It made me wonder about who watches me. And, what do they see?
What I do know is that I am on automatic pilot most of the time. And, I don’t necessarily move about with what I try to project to others on my agenda.
But, as a leader, I see that not having an agenda for my non-verbal behavior can lead to non-intended results.
This is something that deserves “habit” treatment. Every time you encounter the public, you don’t want to be thinking about what impact you are trying to have. You just need to decide the “you” that you want to be and work out a method for projecting it. Every time.
As I write this, I realize that it sounds a bit “insincere”. But, I think not. It falls under the advice I’ve been given all my life when I met someone:
“Firm hand shake”
“Look them in the eye”
“Tell them your name”
This is a better, bigger version of that. The people who count on you to lead are watching. What do the leaders you admire project? Would your teammates say the same about you? Do they think that because you intended it?