The window guy comes in to bid and he says “you understand how this all works.” The drywall texture company owner comes in and he references “you look like you know what you’re doing here.” The stone guy visits and says he’s certain I’ll have the structure in place to hold the granite safely.
For the last 3 weeks I’ve been working a home construction/renovation project and wearing clothes appropriate for the undertaking (painters pants, sweatshirt and very worn steel toed work boots). Simply having this “look” gave me credibility with these contractors bidding jobs. It also drove a slightly lower price. Nonverbal communication is always important but this was a great reminder how what we wear gives us credibility whether we deserve it or not. I can remember the opposite happening one time when I was shopping for a suit while wearing shorts, t-shirt and sandals. No sales person would give me the time of day.
Leaders need to remember that everything they do and say is watched, interpreted and assessed by the team. Nonverbal communication is often as important as verbal. Whether it is your office arrangement, desk housekeeping, personal affects or dress code, they all tell a story.
What nonverbal clues do you send? Are you managing this or just letting it happen?