Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leadership Secret # 222: Palms Down vs. Palms Up

The above photo of Angela Merkel is an obvious and major faux pas.  No leader, especially a national leader and particularly the leader of the German people should use this palm down, arm extended gesture.  The obvious images of Adolf Hitler it conjures up, creates an immediate and visceral fear response in nearly all who see it.  This aside, palms down gestures universally generate negative, patronizing and condescending feelings in the audience and all others who see the image.  Leaders are well advised to use the palms up gestures instead.  The palms up gesture spread feelings of openness, fostering and supportive attitudes while still being authoritative and conveying strong leadership.