Seeing Beyond Words : Animals teach us about our natural ability to lead

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för organisation och entreprenörskap (OE)

Abstract: Nonverbal communication in leadership is a phenomenon which is interesting to get a greater understanding of. Animals only communicate nonverbally and have strong leadership behaviours. Therefore, this study aim is to find out in what way nonverbal communication in leaders is still connected to animal roots and what the implications for modern life are. This study tries to give an overview of the phenomenon with a theoretical approach. Different point of views of nonverbal communication and animal behaviour in leaders have been discussed. A theoretical approach was suitable because of the abundance of literature in the main fields of focus. Connecting the different studies with each other gave valuable insights into the phenomenon. Power, status, submission, territory, space, and mating behaviours are the most used categories associated with leadership behaviours in animal species. Human leadership behaviour consists of the same categories but furthermore, emotional intelligence is an integral part as well. Different postures, gestures, facial expressions as well as distances to each other gave a comprehensive overview of how leaders are naturally behaving. Deciphering the complex nonverbal communication and looking at them with aspects of communication in animals helped with showing the roots and the natural ability to lead. Further research, however, should be conducted to see how nonverbal communication influences complex group dynamics and the effect thereof. Implications for the natural instincts to lead are helpful with how leaders can further their communication skills and become more conscious of their nonverbal communication.

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