I am in the midst of studying to be an elementary school principal. Many nights are filled with reading texts on communication, leadership, and motivation. Recently, I came across a new concept to me, kinetics in the workplace. Specifically exploring how body language effects perception. The text went on to describe how leaders should have good posture, stand to assert authority, and dress professionally. Posture, eye-contact, and poise all play an important role.
As I read through the text, I found myself having to stop and reflect upon what I was reading. I began to wonder:
How does my body language impact how I am perceived as a professional?
I tend to lean forward and I limp. Earlier this month, I had to ask for a dress code exception so that I can wear tennis shoes with my new leg brace. There’s a part of me that has had to surrender to “not caring” about physical appearance because the perfection that is so often prescribed as “correct” is unrealistic for me. I can never wear high heels. My posture will always be skewed. I can’t stand for long periods of time.
What kind of image am I portraying? Will people take my leadership seriously and want to follow?
My hope is that perhaps in the midst of my imperfection, those I will lead will be challenged to see potential beyond appearance both in myself and each other. I threw these questions out on Facebook and received quite a response. I will leave you with one quote that I found rather profound:
“I discovered early that the hardest thing to overcome is not a physical disability but the mental condition which it induces. The world, I found, has a way of taking a man pretty much at his own rating. If he permits his loss to make him embarrassed and apologetic, he will draw embarrassment from others. But if he gains his own respect, the respect of those around him comes easily.” — Alexander de Seversky