Contrary to what many people believe, image is not just about how you dress. In a book by Sylvia Di Giusto, The Image of Leadership, she explains that while your clothing is important, your image is every aspect of how you portray yourself, including your visual appearance, how you communicate, how you behave, and even your digital impression.
Given the complexity of an image, there is not one set formula for developing your image as a leader. However, most successful leaders of the business world have five things in common that lead them to success.
Successful people appear, behave, and communicate in a confident manner. Their confidence is not bound by their physical characteristics. They are self-assured no matter their age, weight, size, or any other factor. The confidence is evident not only in how they dress but also in the way they communicate and carry themselves.
Successful leaders are also authentic in the way they appear, behave, and communicate. They know who they are, and they are able to portray that to the world. When you look at them, you immediately know what you are getting.
Successful people have a professional appearance, which is important to portray because Sylvie often says “you can’t be it if you can’t see it.” Professional may look different in different industries, too. For example, professional in finance may look very different from professional in a creative industry. However, regardless the industry, you recognize professional when you see it.
Successful businesspeople are also very aware of their image, and they control every last detail. It might appear that they are just focused on the big picture, but in reality, every part of their image is controlled and micro-managed from head to toe.
Finally, a successful leader is respectful in the way they behave and communicate. It starts with self-respect – knowing that you are worth it and defining your own value. That respect is then extended to those around them. We live in a diverse world, and successful businesspeople know how to show respect to everyone they meet.
Once again, your image is made up of your appearance, your behavior, your communication, and your digital impression. Successful leaders find a way to infuse every aspect of their image with confidence, authenticity, professionalism, control, and respect. To create the image of a successful, professional leader, today’s business owners should not focus exclusively on what to wear; rather, they should think about how they can incorporate these essential elements into every aspect of their image.