Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are | Amy Cuddy | TED Talks

We've all heard that part of being a "good" leader is looking, sounding, and acting the part. In some of our leadership classes we talk about command presence and how tone of voice and posture influence how people respond to you as a leader. But it goes beyond just how others perceive and respond to you - your body language also influence you. In this TED Talk from 2012, author and social psychologist Amy Cuddy explores how our body language influences not only those around us, but us as individuals.

I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting ideas about human factors and leadership, and this talk struck me as being pretty relevant to fire leaders. The talk isn't about leadership, isn't about wildland fire, and yet there are lots of little nuggets of valuable information in it that fire leaders can use to become more confident and effective leaders. Part of being a good leader is being mindful of ourselves and our surroundings, and videos like this can promote discussion that will help raise individual and collective self-awareness.

As you watch the talk, think of your body language, and if there's anything she talks about that resonates with you. What are some ways that you can use this information in your life, at home or on the fireline? What do you think about the idea of "fake it 'til you are it?" What other lessons can you take from this talk?  Had you ever thought about command presence in this way before? Have you ever considered how you might be able to use "lifehacks" like this to become a better leader?

Until next time...

Justin Vernon is a regular guest contributor on our blog. Justin works for the United States Forest Service and is a member of the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee as the steward of the Professional Reading Program. Check out his Chasing Fire blog. All expressions are those of the author.

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