Smiling is a friendly gesture, but in organizations, it’s more often that the person in a lower rank will smile at the person in the higher rank. It’s natural, since smiling evolved partly from a subservient expression.
However, there are very good reasons why leaders should turn the tables on the people in their organization, and smile more.
Smiling and Leadership
Many of us (especially men) were brought up to think that smiling was not something we should do regularly. Instead, our smile was something we kept in reserve, like fine china in the cabinet and brought out only for special occasions.
This was the experience of CEO Michael Hyatt, who had to be told by his leadership coach that he should smile more. When he did, he realized there were five positive benefits of smiling:
It helps others relax–people will be more comfortable opening up and giving a full report so you have a better picture of the true situation
It draws people to you–people are drawn to smiling people. They will be happier to serve you.
It enables you to connect–smiling is one of the most universal ways to communicate with someone, allowing you to reach across their frustration or anger.
It creates a positive culture–nothing is worse for your organization than disgruntled workers. They are unproductive and reduce the productivity of others. Smiling can help them turn around.
Smiling reduces your stress–you will feel happier and more relaxed if you smile.
Based on these benefits, Hyatt recommends that all leaders try to smile.
Leaders Are Not Fighters
The thought of smiling puts many leaders on edge. They worry that smiling will make them seem weak. They instinctively have a sense of what researchers found in looking at UFC fighters: smilers lose fights.
But if this applies to your leadership, you may be in even worse shape than you think. Once you begin to have an adversarial relationship with people in your organization and rely on intimidation and fear, you find that your employees will give you the bare minimum, or give you the fight you’re spoiling for.
If you want to be a truly effective leader and maximize the productivity of your team, it’s time to treat every encounter as a special occasion and break out the fine china.
Are You Not Smiling for Another Reason?
However, many people are not comfortable with their smiles, and that’s why they don’t want to share them. If you don’t like sharing your smile because your teeth are discolored, crooked, or otherwise unattractive, we can help. With cosmetic dentistry procedures from teeth whitening to porcelain veneers, we can fix problems both simple and complex to give you a smile that you will be happy to share every day.
To learn more about getting a leadership-ready smile, please contact Ravon Knopf in Beverly Hills.