2. Enhancing Presence
Understanding and developing the following will dramatically enhanced a leader’s effectiveness:
a. Professional Bearing:
Associates expect leader/managers to look and act as professionals. Leaders displaying an
unprofessional appearance do not instill confidence in their associates. Studies of non-verbal communications have shown that most people will defer to someone that appears to be a leader. People will, for example, give them more personal space and let them take the lead in conversations and even let them lead when walking. We all may have had the experience of assuming a person was the leader because of his/her presence only to discover that someone else was actually the
leader but did not appear to be. As an officer in the Army in Vietnam, we knew not to place our hands on our hips because enemy snipers assume that a person that does is the leader. Sometimes, just carrying a clipboard can have the same effect.
(1). Dress Code
Every organization has a dress code, written or not. Peer pressure enforces unwritten dress codes in an informal or formal group. That does not mean that a leader/manager should dress like his/her associates. Normally, the dress code for leader/managers is different from for associates even if it is not written. Associates have expectations on a leader’s dress. For example, associates and patients expect doctors to look like doctors, not clowns. Judges wear robes and look like judges, not mimes. Airline pilots wear uniforms and do not dress like hippies. There is a reason that police, guards, and the military wear uniforms. Just the sight of a uniform can calm down a situation that is beginning to spiral out of control. How an associate dresses may be an expression of free speech, but leaders need to dress in compliance with a dress code or to meet associates’expectations. It is not worth debating the issue, dressing correctly makes it easier to earn the respect of followers. Just ask any priest. However, there may be room for variances, such as wearing a tie or not.
Leaders also want promotions. There is more than merely hard work needed to be promoted. Upper management what to promote people who will fit in, who look and act like them. Aspiring young leader/managers should observe the dress code of upper management and copy it as close as possible.
Always have a spare shirt, blouse, necktie, shoes, etc. at work for emergencies. I would add a comb, hair spray, make up, toothbrush and tooth paste to that.
Dress codes usually cover jewelry, hairstyles, and appropriate clothing. Leader/managers must wear whatever is appropriate for the organization’s industry. For example, showing cleavage may be appropriate in modeling, entertainment, and women’s lingerie. Otherwise, cleavage, front or back, is
probably inappropriate in most environments.
More and more, little or no scents such as perfumes, colognes, aftershave, etc. are the standard. The same goes for jewelry, body piercing, finger nails, and hairstyle. Again, that depends on the industry. The appearance of fingernails is important. If leader/managers are in a career field that requires them to point on a document where a client or customer must sign their name, clean and neat nails are necessary. Too often, I have had the misfortune of looking at a fingernail that is dirty, bitten or chewed, and with blood around the cuticle pointing at a clean document for me to sign.
Good posture is important to good health. It seems as if people do not talk about posture as much as they did years ago in spite of the emergence of the field of ergonomics. Leader/managers should not only practice good posture but also demonstrate good posture for their associates. Including posture as a part of training is a good idea, especially when back injuries are a common hazard in
the industry. Poor posture will cause health problems later in life. Leader/managers with good posture demonstrate self-confidence.
Fitness means having sound health, strength, and endurance. Physically fit people feel more competent and confident, handle stress better, work longer and harder, and recover faster. They usually live longer. These attributes provide valuable payoffs in any environment. Individual fitness depends on multiple areas including physical fitness, medical health, nutrition, psychological, and
behavioral (healthy practices). Leader/managers follow policies and adopt practices to maintain total fitness. Physical fitness and adequate rest support cognitive functioning and emotional stability, both essential for sound leader/managers. Fitness will sustain emotional health and conceptual abilities
under prolonged stress.
should encourage fitness and good health among their associates. Poor fitness
and bad health habits will kill or damage people. Encouraging good health habits
and physical fitness is caring for associates.