InPower Women has begun a discussion (in our forums and weekly Talk Show) on women, fashion and power, which is a great reason to repost this article Mary wrote a while ago. We love how Mary covers the issue of “dress for success”, tying the power of being attractive to our own sense of confidence. Read the whole series! – InPower Editors
Clothes make the woman. It is worth that extra money for a better haircut if it makes you feel like a million bucks because it means you will act more confidently, as if you are worth that million bucks. And confidence makes you more powerful and influential.
There are 4 key lessons I learned that helped me improve my approach to management.
- Lesson 1: Mothering isn’t a Management Technique
- Lesson 2: Influence and true leadership is communication – or rather, listening and understanding
- Lesson 3: Influence others to move blocks out of the way
- Lesson 4: Appearance really does mean a lot – This post!
Lesson 4: Influence thru appearance
While working at a client site for a Big 5 consulting firm, this stylish woman came into the office. She looked fantastic – St. John’s suit, leopard mules, hair neatly done, great makeup. She sat at a desk in the corner, and the team gave her lots of room and respect to make calls. I found out she was one of the top managing directors of the firm. And I learned that being a powerful woman didn’t mean leaving fashion behind. In fact – it added to the air that made her all the more powerful because she had incredible confidence.
I decided to try a “dress for success” strategy myself – I started wearing suits with skirts and heels. I wore makeup and a cutting edge hairstyle. I felt more confident and everything changed. I commanded a lot more respect – and this helped me achieve more influence. I didn’t need to get upset to be heard – people listened when I spoke. In fact, I was able to get more done.
Believe it or not, I was a Mary Kay consultant long ago. In Mary Kay, each consultant was REQUIRED to wear a skirt at each consultation. I never understood why – until I met that Managing Director. Confidence was oozing from her pores. Her presence commanded respect, even though she was wearing a pink suit and too much jewelry. She projected out what she felt inside, and it was infectious.
When women are dressed well it makes a difference. It’s less about how people perceive you and more about how you perceive yourself. When I am feeling low, I will dress up and notice my self-esteem fly thru the roof. I give myself a pick-me-up. And others can feel what I’m feeling inside – infectious respect for myself and others. This internal respect is influence.
My lesson: By feeling confident, respect will follow. And with respect, it is easier to influence others and get more done.
Women sometimes forget that there is a lot of power in influence. Power isn’t just a force to make things happen immediately – influence gives you indirect power that goes further than imagined. I remind myself of this often, remembering stories like these four lessons that have constantly prove this is true.