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Leadership Management

The Psychology of Smiling at Work

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As nonverbal communication becomes even more important in our new work from home lifestyle, understanding the best practices of smiling is essential to building relationships and fostering meaningful connections.

Genuine smiles can have a great impact on your reputation within the workplace and even offers some surprising benefits including a boost in productivity. One study found that workers were 13% more productive when happy. Smiling can also make you a better leader, as smiling helps to make your employees feel at ease and creates a positive atmosphere where employees feel more confident in expressing their opinions.

However, smiling too much can have the opposite effect. Over-smiling can be off-putting and can paint you in a negative light, as people often think constant smilers are naive or disingenuous. One reason to save your smiles at work is that smiling in the wrong setting can be confusing for others. Americans often flash a smile at strangers and friends, but this is not the norm in every country. Before meeting with a client or coworker from another county, it’s important to do your research on their customs so you don’t start off on the wrong foot.

Humans have the tendency to smile in situations where they feel uncomfortable or are unsure of how to act. For example, you might be tempted to give an encouraging smile while delivering bad news to your manager or firing an employee, but this can leave them feeling even more confused about the situation. It’s better to go into situations like this with a stoic or somber face and save the smiles for a more appropriate time.

To help you understand the does and don’ts of smiling at work, Auraglow has created a helpful infographic that details five smile scenarios. The graphic also includes tips for feeling and looking more confident, which can help you build meaningful connections.

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