7 Good Grooming Tips to Enhance Leadership Credibility

Good grooming—as quiet as it’s kept—plays an essential role in the leadership equation. Why should it matter?  It impacts your credibility.  And, credibility is necessary for anyone who functions in a leadership role.  To be influential, people have to trust and respect you, even if they don’t necessarily “like” you. Good grooming helps to “seal the deal.”  And, as far as impressions go—whether the first or 50th—you need to have some “good grooming” skin in the game to ensure that the ones you leave are positive. [space]

1.  Practice Good Personal Hygiene

The basics of good grooming begin with good hygiene.  What is good hygiene? Of course it includes regular bathing, brushing your teeth, applying deodorant, and washing your hair.  But, it also includes changing your under garments daily and wearing clean (unsoiled and sweat-free) clothing.  Sometimes trying to get extra mileage out of an outfit just isn’t worth it!  Taking short cuts in personal hygiene results in embarrassment and sends the message that you don’t care. And, ultimately, it destroys your professional credibility. [space]

2.   Be “Hands On”

Being “hands on” means making sure that your hands and nails are clean and well-groomed. Get regular manicures and perform maintenance in between visits.  If you wear acrylic nails, make sure you visit your technician every 2 weeks. Keep nails at a professionally-appropriate length and avoid loud, outlandish nail colors and designs. And, always keep lotion handy to assure that your hands aren’t dry and cracked. There is nothing worse than extending your hand for an embrace and having the other person cringe. [space]

3.  Consider Your Coif

Having a clean, well-groomed mane is the crowning glory for every professional.  Wash hair regularly, especially if you work out, to avoid oil buildup and odor. Moisturize and trim often to avoid split ends, which damage hair and make it appear unkempt. Scheduling regular visits with your stylist will also keep your hairstyle looking “fresh” and chic. Make no mistake—taking the extra time to groom your hair each day will add an appropriate layer of polish to your overall appearance. [space]

4.  Persuade with Pearly Whites

Of course brushing and flossing your teeth daily are important.  But, regular maintenance is equally important. Do you see your dentist for cleanings twice a year? Are you getting exams and preventative maintenance to avoid dealing with major dental work down the line? Do you whiten? A bright, healthy smile helps you to exude confidence, which is important because your teeth are one of the first things people notice when they look at you. [space]

5.  Dress for Success

Dressing for success is essentially wearing your role. Make sure that the expectation of your leadership is congruent with the clothes that you wear. Before you ever open your mouth, you tell a story by the way that you present yourself to the world. What do your clothes say about you? Are you taken seriously? Could you benefit from a wardrobe upgrade? If so, consider hiring a stylist to help you do some personal branding, or spend some time on Pinterest to see what an ideal wardrobe might look like, and enlist the help of friends.  Wearing your role is absolutely essential to establishing and maintaining leadership credibility. [space]

6.  Step Out, “Sole Sister”

A cobbler once confessed that he could recognize a “lousy” pair of shoes from a mile away.  And, he could. His point was that in business, you can’t quite get away with “faking” it and hoping that others won’t notice. Someone always will. What was his advice? Invest in a good pair or two of high-quality shoes reserved for your professional wardrobe. Then, add more when you can and build around them in the meantime.  But, not with visibly worn or professionally- inappropriate styles, which are forbidden. Bottom line? High-quality shoes are an indispensable component of your professional wardrobe and should be seen as a necessary investment in wearing your role. [space]

7.  Be Scent | Sational

Scent adds a layer of finesse to grooming, but should not be overdone.  Wafting loud and offensive layers of scent around the office is probably not the best way to flex your leadership muscle. Instead, opt for clean, muted scents that allow you to showcase your individual style and function as the pièce de résistance in your grooming repertoire. [space]

Cheers to good grooming!

Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. CS, is the Founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport. www.wordsmithrapport.com.  Follow her on Twitter @WSRapport. Facebook: WSR. [space]

Karima Mariama-Arthur

Karima Mariama-Arthur

Karima Mariama-Arthur is founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport (www.wordsmithrapport.com), a boutique consulting firm located in Washington, D.C. which specializes in professional development. She consults individuals and organizations on the dynamics of complex communication and high-performance leadership competence.

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