This week on how to read body language, we look at the difference between the body language our boss displays, versus the body language that staff display in the presence or spotlight of the boss.

We’ve all experienced a subconscious battle with other staff members and our bosses. Perhaps, it’s time to understand a bit more about this power struggle in the workplace. There is a saying from The Definitive Book of Body Language, “Superiority can make his or her superiority known by not folding their arms.” Essentially your boss is saying, “I’m not afraid of you, nor am I afraid of anyone else in this building”. This is non verbal communication being communicated whether you are paying attention or not!

The Situation

When new staff members are added to the team, they have an opportunity to meet the upper managers and bosses. When a confident boss meets new, usually nervous employees, they may display powerful and confident body language (if they don’t, they should!). The gesture most common, is the gesture of gripping palms or a wrist behind the back. Essentially, the boss is opening themselves up and exposing all of the weak points that person has. Normally, under the spot light of the boss, the staff immediately display a beta or submissive gesture. An arm barrier or arm cross is normally the go to for uncomfortable staff members.

We’ve all experienced nervousness as a lower level employee in front of our managers or in front of the CEO of a company. Do you remember what kind of body language you displayed? Did you feel vulnerable to the point where you felt more comfortable with your arms crossed?

For the visual learners check out the video below!

Here you can find the Body Language Noob Channel 

Also, my personal twitter @CaddyQuinn

2 thoughts on “How to Read Body Language: Boss vs. Staff Arm Gestures

  1. Good post. The reason open body language subconsciously gives the message ‘I’m not afraid’ is that it exposes the throat, heart and genitals (not literally) which are the most vulnerable parts of the body. If you perceive something in front of you as a threat, you automatically attempt to cover these up.

    • Great Comment! I agree 100%. I often get the response, “I fold my arms because it makes me feel comfortable”. It’s important to look at the situation that is making you uncomfortable, which in turn, causes you to want to cross your arms to “feel” more comfortable. So in a sense, you are feeling more comfortable than before because you crossed your arms. Body Language is fascinating!

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