Few days back I read a comment that even Abraham Lincoln would have lost the race for presidency, had he run for it now. Because, he is not that photogenic. Today’s presidents have to look good. Its arguable if really this is the case but, point me to a CEO or a top executive who looks ugly in any of the top-tier organization. Can we guess that looking good can influence others opinion about you? Let’s explore this subject more.
So, today’s question is, do we need to sport a good look to go up? And. we are only talking about men here. In certain profession, yes you do, like acting, receptionist, public relations officer, etc. Off course for a telephone operator or a back office clerk look doesn’t matter. But, if the same not-so-good-looking person wants to go up the ladder, the look starts to matter. You may think I am opinionated, off-course I am. This why I created this blog, to share my opinion and thoughts.
Just think about a situation, where a sales man trying to sale you something standing at your doorstep, for me its tougher to say no to a good-looking, well-mannered and well dressed sales man. You sometimes give in to the personality. For me, it’s so easy to deny sales man with average appearance. I think that’s what happens in corporate board rooms. Better looking man perhaps gets the nod when two equally capable competitors are in the race.
Well, hell yes! There were many researches and studies done to establish the fact that good look does matter when it comes to salary raise or promotion. Even for getting the job, your look matters, including your height and weight. The data show that. There is a book from a University of Texas professor. Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful.
This Forbes article says there is a 5% – 10% pay gap between good-looking group and not-so-good-looking group. They cited researchers to explain the point. I do not have access to those research papers. All, I can say is what I see, what I perceive to be true and what my friends state.
To me, if you appear good, you get confidence,, when I wear suits on dress-up day, and people pass on good remarks (sometimes I hear words like “welcome Mr President! 🙂 ), I get high and my performance at the meetings improves. When people give appreciative look at me, I feel more energized and charged-up. I feel the difference in energy level. Many of you must have experienced the same phenomenon, isn’t it?
I wonder If I start wearing suits everyday (I will be one of rarest to do so), what difference it would make to my productivity. Although I am not wearing suits daily, I do try to wear fine dresses. During Christmas I visited India, my home country, and brought a suitcase full of new clothes (that’s 50 lbs of new clothes). And planning to wear at-least one new dress every week. Although I look average, this is my way of looking better than average.
It’s sad, but, I see a trend when it comes to office firing. I always see slow-moving, unattractive and unshapely persons getting the pink slip more often than the persons with better personality and appearance. It may not be the case at yours.
Not-so-good-looking, you have chance!
Remember when researchers begin a study they probably already have the outcome/theory in mind. They try to search for data or patterns to support that outcome/theory. These researchers are no doubt great minds but they may have missed certain facts or aspects which reveals that even no-so-good-looking people often become more successful than their fairer competitors.
Don’t rush off to try out for the face lift or lip surgery yet. Despite what the research tells us, some of the world’s most successful people have been ordinary looking at best. What if 80% US presidents were taller than the average Americans and the average height of the CEO’s is 3 inches more than the average human height. There was an US president who was only 5’4″ tall. There are many CEO’s who don’t look exactly dashing. So, don’t lose heart. Capability overshadows looks most of the time.
There are various other researches on human psychology done to establish the fact that it is the appearance of confidence that makes us look attractive, not the physical beauty. Attractiveness has more to do with how you carry yourself and the energy you bring to the table. Much more than the awe your good-look generates in the meeting room.
We can increase our attractiveness by maintaining good eye contact, acting upbeat, dressing well, explaining well, questioning well and listening well. The posture, how we sit, how we stand, how our legs are spread determines our confidence level, you can look good even without spending big bucks on clothes and accessories. Here’s my post on low-cost men’s fashion ideas.
To me it’s more in our brain that determines how good we look. If we can train our brain to perceive our-self as good looking, smart, clean and well-behaved, I think we can can conquer it! Since last few years, after realizing the possible impacts of looks on my career I started paying attention to what I wear, how I look, how I talk, how I sit and how I walk. I wear branded clothes and shoes. I always wear clean and ironed clothes, I polish my shoes regularly.
The point I want to drive is, if my assumption and some of the research works are correct, you better work at improving your looks, reducing extra weight and looking smart if you are not blessed with a good look. There will be rewards waiting for you, it may be in form of a fatter pay check or not getting the pink slip. Well, not always but, sometimes look might play its part, its my opinion.
Did you come across a situation where someone received undue advantage because of his looks? Did it ever happen to you? Do you think you have ever got reward/promotion/increment mostly because of your good looks? Or you were done-in because of your average look? Please share your thoughts below.
Additional Disclaimer – This post is not influenced by what I see in my workplace, and, this post, in no way, considered to be a practice that my employer follows.