Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Personal Appearance and Leadership

Does how we dress impact who we are as Leaders?

Do you just throw on whatever falls out of wardrobe in the morning? Or do you plan your outfit based on your schedule for the day? Does it matter what we wear as Leaders?

We now see a more casual approach to business dress but does this casual approach impact on our approach to our work. I am a strong believer that it does, what you present on a daily basis represents what you feel about your work.

Messy and sloppy = uninterested and disorganised leader!?

Clothing can also represent your mood whether you are conscious of it or not. Those days where I have felt less organised and distracted my choice of outfit often reflects this. But does this really matter if I am a good leader? I believe it does, if you appear to not really care about your appearance then your team may also take this as a reflection of how you feel about your work. Your presentation is your first impression and we know that the first impression can be a lasting one.

Plan your outfit the evening before so that in the morning you not staring at everything wondering what to wear! There are also some key considerations to use when selecting what to wear;

  • Do you have any meetings. Yes, then who is your audience?
  • What impression are you wanting to portray to the audience.
  • Are you adventuring out or staying in the office?
  • The weather, it's important to be comfortable.

Other things to consider is what impact are you trying to make? If you are going to be running a meeting or training session wearing a strong colour will assert your presence in the room. If you are wanting to present a more serious presence you may go for darker more subdued colours. Softer colours will also have have a softer affect to your presence. 

Whilst some may not like the judgemental element it is undeniable that this is the reality when we interact with people. Therefore is it not better to put your best self forward? 

It's worth trying out different looks and taking note of how people react. I came into work one day in black pants a work polo (first time in over two years), I lost track of people asking me if I was OK! Everyone was so used to me being in a 'put together' outfit that it had an impact on those around me. The day turned into an accidental experiment. Needless to say I have thrown out those shirts and won't be walking into working looking disorganised again. 

Have you had a similar experience? Do you think personal presentation matters? Maybe you have a great leader but always felt they were disorganised, did this relate to their personal presentation? Leave me a comment and let me know.

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