She understood that her image was not only affecting her self-confidence but the confidence of the team around her. They needed a leader who not only talked the talk but walked the walk.
When Veronica Johns, the first Australian woman to secure the role of CEO of a major car company, stepped up the ladder, she knew she had to evolve her image to create an aesthetic transition after working in the same company for 14 years.
I asked her what she thought contributed to her success, and she said,
“I genuinely care about people. I wanted to show them that I had truly stepped up and wanted to make a positive change in the company. I had evolved so much on the inside that my old clothes didn’t feel like me or reflect who I was anymore.”
The male and female leaders that I have worked with on their image, like Veronica—who have the skill set and emotional intelligence, backed by an image that reflects the perception of success—are the leaders who are getting remarkable results, faster.
When a leader of this calibre walks into a room with humble self-certainty and a strong presence, they are a leader their team pays attention to. They trust them, they listen to them, they connect with them, and they ‘buy’ from them. Why? Because they look believable.
Leaders who neglect their image are getting left behind; the pieces of fabric that we call clothes are clouding their message and negatively impacting their influence.
Here’s why. The reptilian part of our brain, more than any other sense, tells us to trust what we see. Studies from Harvard University have revealed that within seven seconds, 11 subconscious, rapid-fire decisions are made about us based on the way we choose to present ourselves.
These decisions are based on three factors of our representation: visual (what we wear, how we wear it), physiological (body language, posture), and verbal (not what we say, but the tone of voice that we say it in). Our image forms 80 per cent of that impression.
True leaders who dress for success have a magnetic trait: their influence lies beyond their spoken word.