Appearance matters for managers

Articles

Appearance matters for managers

03/03/2014

A business school professor recently stated that “he could not name a single over-weight Fortune 500 CEO”.

Many of us are comfortable with our appearance and personal habits, and whilst such confidence is generally commendable, it comes with certain risks. For example, our advice may be ignored or discounted because of unconscious judgements by our team, clients or stakeholders.

As much as we'd like everyone to be judged solely on the quality of their work and leadership, according to researchers, external factors such as appearance really do matter.

While our bodies don’t need to be ‘catwalk ready’, a study has suggested that leaders must appear fit and of a healthy body mass index (BMI) in order to demonstrate to others that they have what it takes to do the job competently.

There are clearly some exceptions to this contention about slim executives. Clive Palmer and James Packer for instance, but both of these men are independently wealthy and don’t need colleagues and bosses to perceive them differently to achieve their goals.

Research has revealed many people perceive overweight executives as less effective at interpersonal relationships in the office, have poorer job performance and less leadership ability.

Some of my friends and colleagues in industry occasionally tell me the managers and executives in their business do not listen to them, or accept their advice.

Could it have more to do with how well we represent ourselves (physically and communication skills) and the ideas we put forward? Obviously, we should look to use appropriate smart clothing and superior speech and written communications to assist us to achieve our goals, irrespective of our BMI.

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