Research at VU University of Amsterdam has been looking at how people make judgments about leadership potential based solely on visual assessments of physical traits. This is a topic they have studied for some time, refining their process of creating faces for analysis.
Smart Vs. Attractive: Who Wins?
Their most recent study was designed to test whether people preferred intelligent looking leaders or leaders that looked very physically healthy. To begin they created four faces out of a composite of volunteers. Each face was a white male with no jewelry, glasses or other accessories so that defining features such as gender and race would not skew results, and so that distractions were minimized.
Then, these four faces were manipulated to appear more intelligent or more healthy. (The manipulations necessary to create these appearances were the results of other studies that showed what traits made people appear more intelligent or more healthy.)
Finally, test subjects were given corporate scenarios and asked to select a new CEO for the company, just from looking at pictures of faces.
According to the Harvard Business Review article, “For Leaders, Looking Healthy Matters More Than Looking Smart,” by David Burkus,
“When the researchers tallied the choices of all the participants, both healthy and intelligent-looking leaders were chosen more often. However, health cues were more clearly influential in choosing a leader than intelligence cues. In 69 percent of choices, participants favored more healthy-looking faces over less healthy-looking faces. The tendency to choose healthy faces was dominant regardless of the scenario presented.”
What this research proves is something that great leaders have known for a long time, your appearance and how you take care of yourself, matters to other people. Your long-term effectiveness as a leader will definitely be a result of your words and actions, but when people choose how implicitly to trust you and whether or not to follow you right off the bat, your appearance matters a great deal. So the extra work you do weight training with a personal trainer on muscle building using weight training can make you more successful in life.
These snap judgements and first impressions are a crucial part of leadership, that you can make efforts to improve. Taking care of your own physical health will help people believe in your potential as a leader, and that early belief will create momentum as you move forward in your career. For more information on a premiere personal training experience, where a world-class personal trainer coaches you to success check out Mr. America Jason Kozma’s personal training packages.