Body Language: The Key to Improving Communications, Addressing Conflicts, and Growing Connections

Why does communication break down and lead to conflict? Can we find a way to harness emotions for good? Or are we always doomed to division and misunderstandings? These are questions that have come up time and time again throughout history, and which have been asked by everyone from presidents and dignitaries to manufacturing leaders trying to resolve everyday conflict within their team.

Emotional intelligence might be the answer! On my Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast, I was joined by Dr. Irvine Nugent, an emotional intelligence coach and body language expert. As someone who grew up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, Irvine is no stranger to big questions about communications and conflict. Like he does in his book, Leadership Lessons from the Pub, he shared some of his top insights on why emotional intelligence is the key to addressing conflict, finding more productive outcomes, and building more meaningful connections.

Leadership Lesson #1: The Importance of Presenting Emotions

Improving your own behavior plays a big role in growing your leadership and increasing your impact. This includes the way you present your own emotions. For example, if you are someone who becomes angry or defensive when given feedback, others on your team might begin to stop voicing their ideas or concerns. By being aware of your emotions—and mindful about how you present them—you can find productive ways to improve your behavior and show up for your team.

Leadership Lesson #2: Increasing Self-Awareness

While it’s important to be mindful of your emotions, it’s also important to remember that you can’t always control how you feel. However, you can control your self-awareness and manage your own emotions. In his episode, Irvine offered a simple tip for managing emotions. Before entering a room or situation, take a one-minute pause. Process your emotions and think about what emotions you don’t want to bring into the room. Then, you can get yourself in the mindset you need to move forward in a productive, healthy way.

Leadership Lesson #3: Learn the Seven Universal Emotions

Through his experiences during the Troubles and his own research into body language, Irvine has become very familiar with the seven universal emotions: anger, fear, disgust, contempt, surprise, happiness, and sadness. These emotions manifest in their own unique ways, like through body language and facial expressions. By learning to recognize facial expressions and body language, you can become better at understanding when you need to ask deeper questions or start a deeper dialogue with a team member.

Learn More on the Podcast

To learn more great insights about emotional intelligence and body language—and some of his stories about growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles—be sure to check out my Mindfulness Manufacturing episode with Dr. Irvine Nugent, which you can find here.

At Manufacturing Greatness, Trevor Blondeel works with manufacturers to connect the top to the shop. If you’re ready to improve your own organization, contact Trevor to learn how Manufacturing Greatness can help you build stronger leaders and develop a dynamic, high-performing workplace.