Leadership Advice: Strike a Pose | Inc.com

Sit up straight?  Yes, your mother is right.  Its an essential aspect of looking the part.

We know how leaders are supposed to look. They stand straight and tall. They are physically expansive, radiating confidence and power. In fact, taking on such physical attributes can actually make people feel more leader-ish, says Amy Cuddy, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. Cuddy and two co-researchers are studying “power posing”–an exercise for charisma-hungry leaders who want not only to appear more confident but also to be that way. She spoke with editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan about mastering the physical side of leadership.

via Leadership Advice: Strike a Pose | Inc.com.


12 thoughts on “Leadership Advice: Strike a Pose | Inc.com”

  1. Couldn’t agree more with the article. Moving into a leadership position without confidence, is like building a house with foundation made out of sand. Leaders become leaders because of their ability to take a decision and convincing all the other around to go on with that decision and body language has a key role to play with that. Someone’s ability to persuade other’s depends 70% on charm, 10 % on looks and the rest 20% etiquette and personality.



  2. I also agree with the article. This is funny because my dad and I were talking about this very subject, how a majority of the leaders in the world and in the past were good looking, tall, confident men, with great personalities. I think that it is a subconscious trait to make someone of those qualities our leader. We want to follow someone like that subconsciously. Here is an article talking a little bit about the subject.


  3. The thing that I really appreciate about this article is the simplicity of the solution that it offers. Making small changes in one’s posture is not particularly difficult — it’s a small step that I think even the most timid individuals would be capable of making. Maybe this article should be integrated into our lesson on public speaking — everybody takes 2 minutes to relax and “take up space”.

    Another piece of advice that I take seriously in building one’s confidence comes from William James: “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.” In other words, if we act the way we want to feel, we eventually will feel that way. The principle goes hand-in-hand with the idea in this article.


  4. Appearance really is important. As much as we avoid admitting it, its true. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, looks into the instinctive human ability to make snap judgements, and what happens as a result. We have an innate desire for leaders who look a certain way and who have specific qualities. To show how powerful this common conception is, Gladwell uses the example of US President Warren Harding. Essentially, Harding was elected into the senate and then later the presidency, not for his plan or speech-making skills, but because he “looked like a president”. The only thing Warren Harding is really remembered for besides the Teapot Dome scandal, is for being one of the worst presidents in US history (http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1879648_1879646_1879696,00.html). If appearance elected someone into office, imagine what improving your posture can do for you.

  5. I was discussing Dr. Cuddy’s research with a friend last week and they kept bringing up the point that having dominant body language doesn’t necessarily persuade others into thinking you are the leader in a negotiation or a group. However, I think that the main point of Dr. Cuddy’s research is that power posing helps you feel powerful. And as she discusses, people who feel powerful, feel confident and are able to express themselves more accurately and sincerely. These are the traits that are desired in a leader.

    Here is the link to Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk on power posing http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

  6. Clay is exactly right. It has been shown that the average CEO is 6 feet tall. This isn’t to say, however, that all leaders must be taller than the average person in order to be effective. The article definitely demonstrates how anyone can improve their leadership skills simply by having better posture and overall body language. People tend to be drawn to charismatic and confident people. I think all MUN delegates should read and apply the tactics mentioned in this article.


  7. Along with how you pose I believe that it is essential to include physical well being as criteria to fitting the part of a leader. As the human body exercises dopamine is released throughout the system. Dopamine is the body’s natural feel goo drug. I believe that this drug fill the body with confidence. Also psychologically the people in general feel that they are more accomplished after working out. They have set a goal and accomplished it. Thus, I believe that it is essential to get physical exercise if we are to be confident leaders.
    Here is an article on the relations to fitness and leadership. http://weeklyleader.net/2010/leadership-and-physical-fitness/

  8. You can tell how confident a person is based on their posture, which is what they were talking about in the article. When someone looks you in the eye, firmly shakes your hand, sits up straight, etc, it really tells alot about their character and their confidence.Having great posture might not be the reason an employer hires you, but it could be the reason they don’t hire you. And that can be applied to other situations as well. Plus there are health benefits from having good posture.

  9. I sent this article to my mom because she always likes to know her pokes in church and comments at the dinner table were of some use. Comments like, “Look people in the eye,” stand up tall,” “shoulders back,” “forward lean”, and “smile” finally have some foundation in science and pseudo science (http://artofmanliness.com/2012/02/05/look-em-in-the-eye-part-i-the-importance-of-eye-contact/). She was right about posture it seems. She loves being right and who doesn’t.

  10. As someone who has fought a long battle with slouching, this article is very relevant to me. I think we often don’t pay attention to how much our appearance matters; if we did, we would spend more time on how we look, stand, shake hands, etc.

    Since this is Model UN, I think it would be interesting to learn about the importance of standing up straight in different cultures. In the United States, it is pretty important (especially among moms), but is it as essential in Pakistan or the Dominican Republic?

    Asa, you stole my first idea – the Art of Manliness. Here is an article about how slouching helps you feel powerful, according to a study at Northwestern University.


  11. I learned about body language a few years ago by reading a book on the subject, and since then I always look for it on people. It is amazing how much of it is true. Now, when I talk to people, I look for their reaction through body language, including facial expressions, and can usually lead our conversation to where I want to get. It is a great tool for political leaders, people with leadership positions in companies, and even for professors. Forbes magazine goes further into it and argues that “Body language will make or brake future leaders.”


  12. Growing up, I often slumped my shoulders. I also found that my self-confidence was rather low when I was young, as well. When I was 14 I took up horseback riding and as part of the rules of good equitation (participation in equestrian sports), sitting up straight is a requirement. Teachers are so strict about this requirement that they’ll string a whip between the crook of your elbows so that it extends across your lower back, which makes it impossible for you to not keep your shoulders back. As I learned how to ride, my posture also improved, even when I wasn’t in the saddle. Along with this change, my confidence shot up. I found that I could carry myself gracefully and that my new posture complemented other attributes that correlate with the appearance of strong leadership and being in control. Even something as simple as a posture change can have a big effect on how other people perceive you, especially in a leadership capacity.

    This link connects to website with resources on how to be an effective Christian minister, but it does have a good section on leadership posture: http://castingyour.net/the-body-language-of-a-leader-having-correct-posture/668

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