Don’t become one of the many high-potential leaders who miss the boat simply because they don’t fully grasp the power of external image. Don’t think of clothes as just something to wear. View them as a factor in leadership influence. Stop dismissing body language as a myth, and leverage it as a vital communication tool. We all sometimes choose our wardrobe or words unconsciously, not strategically. But those oversights add up and over time can squelch your advancement. Let your presence reflect your passion and attitude. Make it bold and intentional, not weak and random.
I’ve heard all the excuses. “My boss doesn’t dress up so why should I?” and “I won’t seem approachable if I look like a high level executive.” Listen. I love my casual outfits and you know I am all about being friendly. But we’re talking about your career here, not the backyard 4th of July picnic. If you want to move up in today’s business world you have got to dress up.
Make sure that your attire conveys instant respect for those with whom you interact. Aren’t your clients worthy of that kind of respect? Don’t dress down. That just backslides your professional image and leadership brand. You’ll never get the recognition and success you want and deserve. Inspire people with your presence. Give them that extra reason to view you as an example worth following for the sake of their own advancement.
Get a grip on the silent messages you broadcast. We attract what we put out there! Isn’t it time you tailored your wardrobe to fit not just your physique but also your internal mindset and professional ambitions? Strengthen your external image and it will empower your internal self!
Here are four concrete steps you can take, starting now:
#1: Suit Up for Influence
Maybe your organization doesn’t dress in expensive suits. But you can still distinguish yourself with elegance. Choose the best fabrics you can afford. Have your clothes carefully fitted by a seamstress. That’s relatively inexpensive but makes them look tailor-made. Invest in great accessories, and emulate the look of those who have achieved the level of promotion you aspire to reach. Soon you’ll be there!
#2: Upgrade Your Mindset
Clothes are only on the outside, though, and nothing detracts from charismatic executive presence faster than self-limiting beliefs and a lack of confidence. Cultivate a positive, self-affirming frame of mind. You’ll feel great and carry yourself differently. That sense of identity can command a room – and convince others that maybe YOU should be their team commander!
#3: Exemplify the Role You Want for Yourself
What do you aspire to become? In your ideal version of you, how do you move through the world and what do you represent to others? Without a clear and vivid picture of yourself it’s hard to build a mindful leadership brand. Develop that personal ideal and idea within yourself. Your subconscious mind will grab hold of it and start to externalize it in a natural, genuine way. That’s how the unstoppable brands are generated!
#4: Communicate Your Vision
According to the Harvard Business Review, 85 percent of business success comes down to communication skills. Are yours as polished as they should be? Do have an adaptive communication style that ensures that no matter who your audience is, they get the message? To lead you have to communicate ideas to everyone in the organization. So raise your profile and value by mastering executive communication.
Your Career’s Call to Action!
Everyone needs a makeover now and then in order to remain competitive and relevant. But when it comes to your career, lots of other leaders want exactly the same job you’re dreaming of landing. You’re the one who has to seize the opportunity. Nobody’s going to hand it to you on a platter. That’s your first leadership mission, to make your hope for predictable promotion an actionable reality!
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified professional image consultant and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand.
Copyright © 2013, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
This article may be reproduced only in it’s entirety, including the above bio.