The Boss report: 2006 | 2005
Exuding power in the workplace is easy, if you have CEO in your title. But what if you're a few (or many) rungs down on the corporate ladder? Follow these tips from Gloria Starr, who runs the Executive Finishing School in Charlotte, N.C., and Jeff Farbstein, the vice-president of general merchandise at Harry Rosen, for a commanding presence regardless of your pay grade.
– Know that theory that says geniuses are messy? Forget about it. Keep your area neat and tidy.
– Ditch the replica Star Trek phaser, the Magic 8-Ball or any other kitschy items around your desk.
– When shaking hands, be the first to extend your arm. You'll appear to be the person in charge — and rightfully so.
– Keep your emotions in check. Grown executives don't swear, sob or succumb to temper tantrums.
– Wear glasses? Slip them off and gesture with them, when you want to emphasize one of your many brilliant points.
– Walk like you own the joint, using long fluid strides, with your shoulders back.
– In meetings, casually arrange your hands in a steeple-like position. (Note: use judiciously or you'll risk drawing comparisons between yourself and The Simpsons' Mr. Burns.)
– Train your colleagues to hang on your every word, by speaking sparingly but insightfully during meetings.
– Never end your sentences with an upward inflection in your voice. You'll seem unsure of yourself if you do.
– When you screw up, briefly apologize but don't explain or complain — you're not in elementary school anymore, despite the childish behaviour that may be going on around you.
– Suit up in traditional colours like navy or charcoal, but separate yourself from those doomed to middle management with a brand like Ermenegildo Zegna or Canali. Showcase your confidence with a dandy shirt, tie and pocket square combination.