How to ‘read’ employees

Many people hide their feelings out of anger, fear or uncertainty.

So a manager needs to have his or her radar up when an employee says one thing and thinks or does another.

The most revealing indicator is a discrepancy between words and body language.

When your em­­ployees attest to their job satisfaction or commitment to excellence, you want to see their eyes light up with passion.

Their voice tempo should speed up slightly as their intensity increases.

Even shy or soft-spoken personalities should radiate low-key sincerity when they rave about their work. You can also tell by their vocal inflection and intonation that their positive comments are deeply felt.

Individuals who are disengaged, by contrast, speak with doubt or listlessness. Their facial expressions lack animation or variation. They appear sullen and drained of energy despite saying, “I’m really excited about this project,” or “It looks like that contract will be accepted.”

You can usually sense a speaker’s concealed purpose or buried attitudes. It helps if you treat everyone with openness and shove aside biases that can taint your impressions of people.

Never bluntly confront or accuse someone whom you suspect of harboring ­hidden agendas or concealing utter dissatisfaction.

Instead, ask supportive questions. Examples include, “Is there anything at all you’d like to talk about?” or “What can I, or the company, do to help you enjoy your work even more?”