Physician Leaders Can Use Body Language to Boost Confidence and Power

by Francine Gaillour, MD

in Executive Coaching for Physicians

I was intrigued by a TED Talk given by  Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, who  investigates how people judge each other and themselves.  According to Cuddy, we make judgments along two critical trait dimensions:  warmth/trustworthiness and competence/power.  These visceral judgements then greatly determine outcomes, such as who we promote, who we hire, and — for leaders — who we follow.  The good news is we can help ourselves into a “power and competence” mindset by spending 2 minutes in a “power pose” just before we have to make the pitch, the speech or the debate.

Just stand tall, and take up as much space as possible.  This “power pose” causes our body to manufacture more testosterone and less cortisol.  More than just “faking it” we’ll start to feel more confident and become what we envision we can be.     Our body language not only visually signals “power”  (standing or sitting tall, taking up more space) or “powerless” (shrinking in, folding our arms and legs inward), it physiologically determines our attitude.

I encourage physicians and coaches to watch this intriguing talk by Professor Cuddy:

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