Saturday, June 18, 2011

Leadership Secret # 99:
One gesture a leader should (almost) never make

This is Stephen Harper.  He is the current Prime Minister of Canada.  His hands are clasped in what some refer to as "Genital Guarding" or "The Fig-leaf" position. It is consistent with a low confidence emotional state and in some contexts, it can be a sign of deference or respect. With very few exceptions a head-of-state should never strike this pose. If perhaps he's/she's being photographed next to a major religious figure such as the Pope or the Dalai Lama, then it's okay, and even expected. When attending a funeral, or perhaps once he becomes a "Former Head of State" and he appears next to a current sitting president, prime minister - then it's also acceptable and not viewed as weak. Otherwise, he's projecting weakness where he should not be. When you're a leader or head of state, you must look the part.  Mr. Harper and others may be surprised to discover, that assuming such a pose will make one feel less confident - and the opposite is just as true.