I learned my first lesson on leadership and nonverbal communication when I was still a junior in high school—a naive country boy from Missouri learning about life behind the iron curtain through participation in an exchange program to Moscow that focused on learning the Russian language. My verbal communication skills failed me quickly, so I learned the utility of nonverbal communication and its effectiveness, especially when it meant my survival.
Although I did not understand the Russian they were speaking, when the man sitting in the middle threw open his jacket to reveal a machine gun, I got the message.
I should have learned this lesson during my first week in Moscow. I had been warned of criminal ...