Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leadership Secret # 35: A Friendlier Way to Point

This is George Mitchell.  Currently he is U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East.  In the past he has been U.S. Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Walt Disney Corporation. He is seen here during talks in Washington D.C. between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasprior.

Mr. Mitchell is seen here using what has been come to be known as the "Politician's Point".  Rather than pointing with the index finger, which is universally poorly received as negative, aggressive, patronizing, and angry, an experienced leader may "point" with this okay sign - aka the politicians point.  Those who use the Okay sign in this manner, are judged to be warm, understanding, intelligent and focused on sincere problem solving.  It's best to use it a bit more relaxed than Mr. Mitchell is showing us here.  In particular, be careful to avoid pinching  the pads of  thumb and index finger together, but rather keep only the tips of these digits touching forming a circular shape. It's interesting to observe that the faces of those gesturing with the latter variation of this "politician's point" (loose okay sign) will tend to have more relaxed smiles, while those using the "pinched" okay sign, will tend to have more tense faces.