Your Hands


Hands are the chief organs for physically manipulating the environment. Through the hands you express the love of doing, of forming for use, and of communicating and relating.

Some time ago Brain Pickings published a post about Hands, based on a vintage book by John Napier, a physician specializing in hands. As often happens with creative ideas, the post got me thinking about leadership hands, and lovers hands, and gave birth to today’s post.

The hand, in expressing the love of doing and communicating is modified by its work. Every employment has its own peculiar motions to which the hands and fingers must be trained, and by training they acquire skill and deftness. They also strengthen or weaken certain shapes of hand and fingers.

For example, because I have played the piano since I was 7 years old, my fingers have a strength and dexterity that many don’t have. It helps me also with being able to type faster than most. Because the nerves and muscles that connect to my wrist, arms, and shoulders are also stronger, I have never had issues with carp-tunnel, unlike many who use the computer extensively. Because I know how to transmit emotion through my fingers’s touch on the keyboard, I’m very aware on how I use touch with others.

Here is the thing, the kind of love which is put into work, and into relationships, whether gentle and considerate or selfish and harsh, affects the motions and even the organic forms of the hands.

In leadership, hands are seen as the practical application of the day-to-day leadership and relationship behavior. We have a whole vocabulary for hands that evoke many different images of leadership and relationship styles and behaviors. They also convey influence and connection  as “touch.” I don't pretend to have an exhaustive list here, therefore, feel free to add others.

Hands and action (or inaction)

  • hands on

  • hands off

  • open hands

  • closed hands

  • tied hands

  • quick hands

Hands and virtues

  • loving hands

  • sensitive hands

  • nurturing hands

  • compassionate hands

  • uplifting hand

  • generous hand

Hands and work

  • extra hands

  • enough hands

  • full hands

  • empty hands

  • busy hands

  • nimble hands

  • idle hands

Hands and ethics

  • crooked hand

  • heavy hand

  • dirty hands

  • clean hands

  • free hands

  • loose hands

Hands and behaviors

  • hands up

  • hands down

  • smart hands

  • right hand

  • left hand

  • working hands

  • heavy hand

  • soft hand

  • helping hands

  • creative hands

Remember. . .

Your hands reflect your relationship style and behaviors. They communicate and influence. They help or hinder. They uplift or crush. They grab power or empower. What kind of hands do you have? What kind of touch do you share? How are you sculpting your hands? How do you lead with your hands? How do you love with your hands?

Hands are very expressive. They can convey a whole conversation. Ask for my Conversation Guidelines and see how the do’s and don’ts apply to “hand communication.”