Smiley face on a sidewalk
Communication,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Neuroscience,  Self-leadership

A Smile is a Leadership Tool

I recently had a coaching session with a tech leader who expressed a strong desire to enhance his approachability. While he was committed to delivering high-quality products, he was aware that his intense focus on quality sometimes came across as inflexible and intimidating.

As a coach, I work with various personalities, and my approach is to identify the strengths of each individual. So I was not surprised that he appeared stiff in our call, and I had to avoid being influenced by it. But as the call progressed, I noticed a positive shift in his demeanor. He seemed more relaxed and even had a smile on his face. I shared my observations with him, and he agreed that he felt more at ease.

Capitalizing on this momentum, I probed deeper to understand what helps him stay relaxed during conversations. I also introduced the concept of mirror neurons, which suggests that our behavior affects the mood of those around us.

In the business world, hierarchy, and status often play a significant role, and it’s common for people to feel intimidated in the presence of senior leaders, especially when they seem stressed. However, by exhibiting a calm and approachable demeanor, leaders can create a more relaxed atmosphere, making it easier for others to connect and collaborate.

And a smile is an easy way to start.

(While writing this blog, I found this TED Talk where Ron Gutman discussed various research findings demonstrating the the hidden power of smiling.)

Join me in one of these free sessions, Coffee w/A Coach, or contact me for a coach chemistry call.

Photo by Jacqueline Munguía on Unsplash

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