What Are You Looking At?
I’ve seen firsthand the results when a manager refuses eye contact with their subordinates; it gets people talking and starts the gossip. Why? Maintaining eye contact helps to build trust and confidence with those you come into contact with. When that doesn’t happen, people notice. Not only that, they begin to think (whether they’re right or not) that something is wrong with the person.
If you notice too, it’s not that natural. I’m not talking about being distracted by something, like working on your computer. While it is rude, it’s not the same as sitting across from someone and having them stare at their desk – at nothing – while you’re giving them an update on a project. It’s a little weird.
So people begin to think things about this person. Their actions and motives become suspect. If establishing eye contact builds trust, then avoiding eye contact becomes suspicious. What are you trying to hide?
Who knows, maybe deep down they realize they’re an idiot manager and just don’t know how to pull themselves back up. It’s never too late to brush yourself and try again. What I find interesting is that people like this get to move up in the world. Just how exactly does this happen?
You know, researchers also say that people that have trouble making eye contact also have problems making friends. Of course they do. What kind of person would want to be friends with someone who can’t even look them in the eye. It’s just not inviting.