Nov 30 / HR Maine Consulting

How Excellent Nonverbal Communication Can Boost Team Morale in The Workplace

A team that is unified trusts each other, laughs together and works together more efficiently toward its goals. Incorporating better nonverbal communication into your workplace will increase your team’s morale. What manager doesn’t want that? It will also help your team to be more productive. 
In this post, we’ll cover:  

1. Nonverbal effects on a team
2. The simple act of saying “good job” in more than words
3. Negative Nelly and How to Get Rid of Her 
4. How practicing good nonverbal communication can come more naturally 
5. Leading well   

1. Good Nonverbal Communication Boosts Team Morale

Picture this: Manager Mike walks into the shop one Monday and walks past all of his employees with a scowl, and without speaking a word.  

I know he has stuff going on at home, but he doesn’t have to take it out on us,” says Sandra.
The crew gathers in the break room to hear their orders for the day and Manager Mike angrily tacks the orders on the bulletin board. Without a word or any eye contact from him, the employees read the board and head out for their tasks, upset, discouraged, and now grumpy themselves.  

Perhaps the example is a bit dramatic, but do we see the affect nonverbal communication can have in a workplace?  

“Approximately 97% of our communication is non-verbal, while only 3% is verbal. These numbers demonstrate the importance of non-verbal behavior in the workplace,” -Attendance Bot. 

Imagine if the scenario had included a smile, a wave, or even a passing handshake as Manager Mike walked in. Then if he looked his employees straight in the eye- even if he still posted tasks rather than speaking them, it would have uplifted the entire atmosphere of the shop on a Monday morning.  

Know this: Being a manager does come with added responsibility. But everyone in life faces difficulties, so when you as a manager do too, remember that you have the power to make or break your team’s day. You can lead by example, with joy, positivity, and encouragement. Or you can lead by crushing the spirit of your team members. Just know with the second route, you are determining how your team members will treat one another.  

 2. Say “Good Job” in more than words 

There’s not a human being on this planet who does not want to be thanked for the work they do. But sometimes, saying thanks can fall a little flat. Here is why: 

- Your actions don’t match your words. 
- You don’t speak much of anything else besides thanks or constructive criticism. 

Perhaps you aren’t the most smiley of people. Here’s a little refresher on encouraging nonverbal communication to spruce up your workplace. Making eye contact with employees, smiling with them [as you speak], handshakes, a friendly, appropriate pat on the shoulder all can match your “good job” and “congrats on that project” talk. Try to up your positive nonverbal communications this week and see if even you feel brighter! 
Dually note: If you aren’t regularly checking in, getting to know your employees they are not going to feel valued as a person. No one likes to be made to feel like a work horse or some sort of machine. Asking “How are your kids” and actively listening will go a long way, especially the next time they hear ‘good job.’ 

 3. Negative Nelly and How to Get Rid of Her

At a recent HR conference from BambooHR, Andrew Tarvin spoke on the influence of humor in the workplace. Andrew “is the CEO of Humor That Works, a leadership development company that teaches professionals how to use humor to achieve better business.” In his session, he introduced the concept of “One Smile Per Hour.” He spoke saying, “Be the comedian you wish to see in the world” -Ghandi.  
Now to pretend everything is okay in the workplace when it is not? That is not helpful. But, from the top, laughing with your employees sets a friendly tone in the work environment. Now why are we going off about all this humor? We’re talking nonverbals here! Because a person can say a lot with their eyes. Practice smiling with your eyes. Deal with any bitterness toward employees in healthful ways and your kind treatment of them will be sincere. That will promote team unity and a more motivated employee! 

Get RID of that Negative Nelly! We all have disappointments, frustrations, and insecurities we are dealing with, but by dealing with them head on, we can move from a place of tension to transparency, of scowls to eagerness for the day.  
Thank you!
Part of your verbal communication includes tone, sounds, volume, and pauses. These factors are called paralinguistic and are more impactful than spoken communication. Your choice of tone speaks more volume than the actual words. How you say something leaves a stronger impression than what you say, (Attendance Bot) and a dose of laughter, or “One Smile Per Hour” can hugely change how your employees work. 

4. Practice Makes Better

Did you know slouching may indicate a lack of confidence? Try standing with your feet apart and your shoulders back. This shows self-assurance and confidence, which is a great place to lead from. More likely than not, your team will start to listen to you more as they take note of how you are more sure of yourself.  

Active listening, nodding your head, reacting in your facial expressions and eye contact will make your employees feel more valued. In turn, they will work harder. Doing the opposite: trampling over your people with your words and nonverbal communication makes your team lose trust in you. The opposite can build it.  

In fact, Joe Navarro, who has been with the FBI for over 25 years, and has executed over 13,000 interviews, says, “The only way to be truly empathetic is by understanding nonverbals.” So, buckle up. Be patient with those who do slouch, take longer to speak, or react, don’t smile or make good eye contact, and don’t have the best handshake. And remember not everyone is naturally great at nonverbal communication. 

5. Start from the Top

It’s important to lead yourself well if you are to lead others well. Are people following you? Or are you alone at the top? 
Start implementing these positive nonverbal communications and see what happens. Watch your people become encouraged and work from a place of courage and passion. When new ideas are brought to you from your motivated team, greet them with actively listening ears, appropriately placed smiles, and nods. Be patient with your people and watch their respect for you grow.  

The more you tend to your employees, the more your team will naturally foster a positive, cheerful workplace- and not just for the holiday season.  


Try out these pointers before the New Year. See if you don’t notice a difference in how your team respects one another and takes direction better from you. Chances are, it will leave a lasting impact on your teammates. After all, people don’t always remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.