Does a Manager’s Appearance Affect Employees?
We all know the importance of professional attire when it comes to job interviews. A person’s physical appearance can tell (or at least help others conclude) a lot about him or her, even about areas that aren’t so physical.
For example, if a prospective job candidate walks into an interview wearing dirt-stained ripped jeans, spiked green hair, a muscle shirt with fresh milk splashes on it and flip flops, what are some conclusions the interviewer will inevitably make about him?
- has bad hygiene and/or grooming habits
- is incompetent because he doesn’t know how to dress for an interview
- cannot be taken seriously
Most job seekers are aware of the certain don’t’s when it comes to the professional world, and how you carry yourself has a huge list of its own. Dressing inappropriately can cost a job seeker a potential job and even create a negative reputation for the person, especially if this is a regular occurrence.
Yet, I wonder, what are the affects of those “unprofessional looking” workers already in the office? And specifically, management?
One of my family members used to have a manger who fell into this category. I had the opportunity to meet this lady once, and let me tell you, she was a sight to see.
Her hair was thrown about her head every which way; it looked like she’d just stepped out of a tornado. Her shoes were too small, so her toes easily hung over the edges. Her clothes were wrinkled, and the day I met her, she had tons of lent covering her black blouse.
To be honest, she looked very unkempt and very unprofessional. And what’s worse? My family member said this was how her boss appeared every day.
Now, perhaps you’re thinking that this woman’s appearance affects only her; I mean, she’s the one walking around looking disheveled. The bad image only falls back on her, right?
Just like an interviewee’s attire can negatively affect his or her chances of employment, a manager’s or anyone in a position of authority’s unprofessional appearance can negatively impact his or her workers. Below are just four ways:
1. Hinders First Impression
Imagine you’re a new worker, it’s your first day and you’re headed to meet your boss. As you go into her office, your eyes are shocked at what stands before you. Your “boss” has on a too-tight, too-high skirt and a blouse small enough for a child, yet tight enough to reveal the “too much” cleavage of a grown woman. She’s wearing 7-inch stilettos she can barely walk in and her panty hose have numerous runs up and down her legs (okay, maybe that’s extreme, but you get my point).
Now, what would your first impression be? Something like, This is my boss? This is the manager? Now you’re first impression of this woman in authority is tainted, and could ultimately affect how you view her for the duration of your job tenure—especially if this appearance is a norm.
2. Negative Company Representation
All workers represent a part of the companies they work for. This is especially true the higher you go up the food chain. Those in positions of authority are usually the face of an organization. Who wants an unprofessional, unkempt face representing their business? This could potentially discourage clients from working or partnering with your company because they may think, if its workers look unprofessional and unorganized, how can the quality of the company’s products and/or services not be the same?
3. Embarrassing Team/Department Lead
Like point no.2, your manager/boss represents your team and/or department. Don’t you want a professional representation? When you were a child, did your mother ever insist on driving you to school with rollers in her hair and wearing a bathrobe? That’s quite embarrassing for a child, and the same is true for the employee-manager relationship. Although she didn’t say it, I could tell my family member was a bit embarrassed to introduce me to her boss—the one in authority, the one who was supposed to show an organized, professional and quality side of her department, yet her appearance displayed the opposite.
4. Loss of Respect
In any interview situation where the job candidate wears unprofessional attire (especially extreme cases), the interviewer isn’t going to take him or her seriously. Neither will workers when they see that they’re boss constantly has an unprofessional, dirty, smelly and unkempt appearance. How a manager carries him/herself can cause employees to lose respect for the person. You show up to work every day with wrinkled, stain-filled clothes, disheveled hair and smelling like spoiled milk? No one is going to take you seriously after awhile, no matter what your job title says.