Ever wonder why your leader does what he or she does?  At times, it’s difficult to understand what they mean without a decoder. Other times what they need seems as clear as day. Listen with your eyes and ears. You’ll realize that everyone has quirks, tells and other nonverbal clues into why they do what they do. My leadership team figured out mine and circulated a decoder sheet to the remainder of the team to help them become better receivers and senders of information. I’m told, these are some of my tells.

  1. If he grunts, it’s not good and you need to go another direction.
  2. If he says, “you need to understand…” you’ve gone in an undesirable direction and get ready for a conversation.
  3. If he switches to speaking to you softly, you’ve misunderstood him and he’s trying to explain it in a different way.
  4. If you’ve presented options and regarding one of the ideas he says, “Let’s come back to that” he’s not a fan and there’s really no need to come back to it at all.
  5. Sometimes he gets riled up…just listen because he’s most likely venting. When he’s done, simply ask if there is anything you can do.
  6. If he says, “follow my lead…” do just that.
  7. Prior to any meeting he’s leading (Board meetings, staff meeting, client meetings, etc.), he’ll be in a zone with his game face on.  He’ll most likely be quiet and speed-walking.  This is his process…don’t take it personal and wait until about 30 minutes after the meeting before going to him for anything (unless it’s urgent).

To have cohesive and constructive group communication, it is critical to have a uniform understanding of your leader’s communication quirks. What’s your quirk? Does the team know them?