The Challenge of Perception: The Power of Sweatpants?

I will never believe in the power of sweatpants.  I dress up even on lazy Sundays; I would never be caught dead outside of my place in a robe.  Oh wait… I don’t even own one.  Nonetheless, this article relates to my previous post about the love of fashion.  Research illustrates that being different can work to either your advantage or your detriment, depending on the situation.

Success Outside the Dress Code – WSJ.com.

Speaking from personal experience, it takes more than just confidence to be true to yourself – it takes courage, it takes an attitude.  When you dare to stand out, you call attention to yourself.  Unfortunately, the type of attention is not always the kind an intelligent person should allow himself.  Even Victoria Beckham admits to being bullied as a child for being different. Although you are taking a risk (as I am with this blog), being yourself, being real, being genuine creates a solid foundation for making a lasting first impression.  In fact, your processional success may depend on your ability to take risks, as it is one of the most remarkable characteristics of leadership potential.

On the other hand, the reactions may be not so positive because the attempt at being unique is obviously contrived.  And that may never be forgiven, because – as we all know – first impressions are practically impossible to change.  You have to understand what is acceptable in how far you can push the limit.  The phenomenon described in the article is what they refer to as “the audacity is second happiness” in Russia.

Another great point made in the article is that it is important for a leader to recognize when it is time to empower and inspire while being a part of the team and when it is time to guide by taking the responsibility.  Leader’s emotional intelligence includes the ability to judge the situation and take control of it in the most advantageous way.  Sometimes you have to lead from the back of the flock. The point of view may change the perception.

Speaking of a different perspective, suit up, gentlemen.  Refined ladies like me adore a man in a suit ‘n tie.  Believe me, there is no such power in sweatpants.

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