Leaders in business seem to rooted in an entrenched stereotype. The past few decades have seen a striking change in the distribution of power. This distribution covers a wide spectrum. It encompasses the West and rest of the emerging world. In pop culture between geeks and non-geeks, but sadly not in how leaders should look. In this post I’ll explore this unfortunate state of affairs.
But what is amazing to me is that in this supposed age of diversity, how many leaders still conform to stereotype. Getting to be a senior leader in an organisation still appears to remain more about how you look and sound as what you achieve. The typical leader is:
- about six feet tall,
- has a good posture,
- a deep voice,
- a touch of grey in his hair and,
- remains physically fit, despite his age.
And people who select future leaders also succumb to negative stereotypes. If you are an overweight women, for example, will you will probably be incorrectly judged as incapable of controlling yourself. If you are then what does that say about your ability to lead or control others? Masculine individuals are more likely to emerge as leaders than are feminine individuals. And individuals with dominant personalities are likely to express their opinions in a forceful way are more likely to act as leaders in small-group situations.
In an ideal world, companies would rise above these entrenched prejudices. Maybe if you are born outside of the magic genetic circle you would be better off learning how to imitate those inside it? No coincidence, perhaps, that the second most downloaded talk on the conference site TED is a seminar on power poses.
What do you think? Leave a comment below: