Leadership & Reading People

William AuxierblogLeave a Comment

Mention leadership and most of us think of leaders who are excellent communicators.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, show me a good leader and I’ll show you a good communicator.  Show me a poor leader and I’ll show you a poor communicator.  When we think of the words “communicator” or “communication” we usually think of verbal communication.  For me, I think of the great orators like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln.  Great orators, great speakers can move mountains.  Great orators and great leadership go hand in hand.

But what about leadership and non-verbal communication?  If you accept the premise that great leaders are great communicators and poor leaders are poor communicators, you have to include non-verbal communication in that mix.


Human beings are able to pick up on the thoughts and feelings of others through both verbal and non-verbal communication.  We are able to pick up on non-verbal cues that include body language, tone, voice inflection, etc.  This human ability allows us to develop relationships and cultures that enable us to move forward as a society.  It allows leaders to move organizations and organizational members to accomplish goals and objectives.  Effective leaders need to be aware of their ability to understand non-verbal communication and understanding non-verbal communication is challenging at best.

Conflicts naturally occur in human relationships, but there’s nothing like a misunderstanding based on non-verbal communication that fuels the fire.  Bias plays a huge role in screwing up this process.  Misunderstanding other people’s intentions is a common occurrence.  We also have a tendency to think it’s all about me, that everything I do is being noticed by others.  This leads us to blow things out of proportion and cause embarrassment because we falsely  think everyone is watching our every move.  Most people fail to understand what’s going on inside their own head, let alone the heads of others.

This aspect of “reading” others is an essential leadership skill that starts inside of you.  That is one of the reasons why the concept of INTRA-Personal Leadership is so important.  INTRA-Personal Leadership is all about understanding the workings of your own mind which establishes your foundation of leadership which then affect your ability to read and understand others.  The better you understand yourself, the better you can understand others.

What do you think?  This blog is a form of non-verbal communication.  What did you take from this?  Lease a comment below.

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