Career Advice

The Power Posture: Stand Tall And Get Hired

Even the researchers at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University were surprised by the findings that standing tall can get you hired, promoted, and elected, reports That “power posture” not only communicates that you’re in charge, but also positions you, literally, to feel and therefore act in charge.

Actually, this correlation between looking the part of a doer or leader and being selected as one has been integrated into military training for years. That goes right down the line to preparing ROTC candidates for possible battle. They are made to stand tall. Slowly but surely those unfocused raw recruits transform themselves into men and women who know and behave like everything is possible. During that evolution, those military folks as well as ambitious job hunters and employees will also come to expand their chest to appear large and in control. Many animals do exactly that when fending off danger or searching for a mate.

In short, posture is one component of power. That power can often be greater than what the person’s official role in the hierarchy their organization would suggest. This was another discovery of the researchers led by Adam Galinsky and Li Huang. This concept is illustrated, in cartoonish fashion, on the New Yorker magazine cover for their Dec. 5, 2005 issue. In the cartoon, President George W. Bush’s posture communicates a submissive role, while Vice President Dick Cheney’s tells the world he’s top dog.

Of course, walking tall has nothing to do with height. Think about height challenged Napoleon standing so erect, with his iconic chest thrown forward. Also, consider that if the power posture were about height per se, few women could have developed or leveraged it. Those who did that so well range from the enigmatic Jackie Kennedy Onassis to the fictional Alicia on television’s ‘The Good Wife. – By Jane Genova

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