Lothery & Associates

The Brady Body Speaks…And Everyone’s Listening!

I never make it a secret that I’m a huge sports fan, and love almost any sport that involves a ball! I also make it no secret that I’m a New England Patriots fan. My dad used to have season tickets when we lived near Boston, and I went to a lot of games as a toddler and small child. So I must also admit that I was thoroughly embarrassed at the body language exhibited by Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady.

For those who missed it, the Super Bowl quarterback showed he was “less than pleased” with his receivers in their win over the Jets this weekend. Grabbing his head, screaming in frustration, in essence showing he wants more, or better performance, from them.  Here’s the problem, the players see it, their family and friends see it, and the fans see it. They all see the “team Dad” getting angry at the “team kids,” embarrassing them as if he wanted to send them to their room.  Some might say, “so what. He wants to win.”

Here’s the issue: when you publicly embarrass a grown adult, it is very difficult to find common ground or let bygones be bygones when it’s time to work together again. Diplomacy is always the way to keep a working relationship intact. If you need to vent, do it in private. For teams, that means the locker room. For professionals, that means a closed door private office meeting. Brady will have a tough time next week, getting his teammates to want to perform better. He’ll have a hard time pushing the “teamwork” button in the huddle. In fact, grandstanding and yelling at members of your team will only alienate them, and make it difficult to achieve your desired results. They will always look at you with reservations. They will always look at you as an obligatory part of their life, not someone they look forward to supporting for a team win.  Brady may find himself having a few problems with getting sacked in the next game. He might find that he’s forced to pay more attention to scrambling to get away from the defense than proactively looking for receivers.

So let’s translate that to you in your workplace. If you’re a screamer at the office, and you don’t think it hurts anyone, least of all you, to yell at, berate, or embarrass others, think again. You’re hurting your reputation and image as a leader. You’re cracking the team morale and have just undermined your teammates’ motivation to give 100% the next time you ask them. You’ve also shown your own bosses that you can’t keep calm under pressure, so you’ve caused some damage to your own career.

If you find yourself confronted with poor performance in a work, sports or other setting, here are some easy reminders:

  1. Maintain your poker face.
  2. Praise in public and discipline in private.
  3. In the heat of battle look for what will inspire and bring the team together, not add to the problems at hand.
  4. In the words of my wonderful father , Gene Lothery, (and the person he took it from) “Be careful of the toes you step on today, as they will likely be connected to the butt you need to kiss tomorrow.”

Your body language speaks volumes about how you really feel. In fact it makes up 55% of the impact you have on your audience. A person may not remember exactly what words you said by the time 24 hours has past, but they will remember whether you rolled your eyes, stomped your feet, and grabbed your head in anger for hours, days and possibly weeks to come. That’s why the “impact” is so high. It’s about what someone will remember.

So the next time you feel like blowing your stack, stop, breathe, reorganize your thoughts and figure out what you would want someone to say and do with you, if you had committed the same offense. In the case of the New England Patriots, Tom Brady made an apology and said he needed to work on his body language and emotional reaction. That will help, but the actions will be remembered for quite some time.

Check out our delivery skills tips on the Tip of the Week, or visit the Communication Corner Store for other ways to practice.


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