Whether you're in the C-suite, a growing manager, or the top dog, how often do you reflect on your presentation and how people view you? The more success your company has, and you have as a result, the more your mind (ego) thinks "you're doing it right! You're really good."

Look at the people in the room. Clients and vendors. The other top people. How are they communicating? Are they on their phones? Do they appear disinterested? How do they dress? What do they look like? 

We can view others and see what we want to be, and what we don't want to be.  

Let's get back to the topic of attire. Do you have the same wardrobe you had when you were two or three levels junior? Have you upgraded your appearance as you've been promoted? As the saying goes, dress for the job you want, not the job you have (or have had). When people make more money, they will buy a nicer home or a nicer car; however, they don't make the investment in what enabled them to earn the money (themselves).

As your career grows, you take on more responsibility. You're in meetings with more important people and your input is relied on more. As you move up in an organization, more eyes are on you. Period. You set the bar.

If you dress the same way you did in an entry-level role or as a junior manager, you aren't elevating your game. Should it matter? Irrelevant. Unless your expertise is so great that it overwhelms the audience, how you represent yourself does matter. 

I'm not talking about $3,000 custom suits and Hermès ties. I'm not talking about Christian Louboutins shoes for $1,000. I am talking about wearing a suit, having a new blouse or tie, a wardrobe that matches your level. It can be done on a budget, so again, it's not about Neiman Marcus. It's about improvement.

Glasses, notebooks, purses, ties, shoes. It makes a difference. You are competing against internal peers for promotions and external peers for clients. If you don't like to pick out clothing or feel comfortable doing it, ask a peer or manager who dresses well to help you shop. People like to help.  

You're setting the bar, and your team is looking to you as an example. If they come in disheveled...it may be time to look in the mirror. Are they reflecting their leader? 

Next week: refining your communication style as you succeed.  

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Published on: Apr 25, 2018