New Study: There Are 2 Types of Leaders and You Can Spot Them by How They Stand

By Jessica Stillman

Take a moment and picture a leader. Imagine not just their face or character, but visualize their whole body from their hair down to their feet. Did you picture someone standing wide and tall, looking down sternly from on high? Or did you picture someone equally confident but friendlier, smiling up at their followers?

Whichever way your imagination went, new science says you’re probably right. Research by a team of Canadian psychologists recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that all leaders can actually be divided into two types. If you want to know which type someone is, just look at their body language.

What type of leader are you? Check your body language.

The research was built on a simple observation: There are two ways to get ahead. You can dominate people by making them fear you or you can win their loyalty with your intelligence and kindness. Anyone who has ever gotten through high school or voted in a presidential election has probably made a similar observation, but does this common sense model of leadership hold up under scientific scrutiny?

Several previous studies suggested so, but to confirm this and dig into how these types of leaders present themselves, the researchers behind the latest study designed a series of five experiments. They generated computer avatars of leaders, asked actors to perform the role of leaders, observed real-life groups sort themselves into hierarchies during a task, and asked volunteers to evaluate real-life politicians.

No matter how they ran the experiments, the same pattern emerged. Those asked to rate leaders responded to two distinct body language patterns. Both were associated with power and leadership, but people viewed the two types of leaders very differently.

The first type of leader tended to adopt a stereotypical “power pose“: Think of Donald Trump and staring down from a campaign poster with a serious expression and his body spread wide. Observers saw this type as dominant. Essentially, they intimidate people into following them.

Instead of looking down with a scowl, the other type of leader looked up with a smile. Like dominant types, they stood with their chest out, but they took up less space. These folks were also seen as leaders, but they were viewed as caring and competent rather than as dominating. They gained followers through prestige, which they developed by demonstrating their expertise and helping people.

In the words of the authors, all this “provides strong converging evidence that dominance and prestige are associated with distinct nonverbal signals which naturally emerge in ecologically valid group settings and real-world rank contests, and result in rank conferral from others.”

Or in everyday language, the researchers’ initial hypothesis played out. When we say “leader,” we actually have two distinct types of people in mind. One rises through dominating others. This type of leader physically takes up a lot of space, tends to tilt their head downward, and often wears a fierce facial expression. The other type relies on prestige, not fear. You can spot them by the upward tilt of their heads, their far greater likelihood of smiling, and their less expansive posture.

Prestige or dominance

As the British Psychological Society Research Digest write-up of the new research notes, this difference may help explain why the popular idea of “power posing” seems to offer inconsistent results. Maybe it works sometimes and not others because the traditional “superman” (or woman) stance mimics dominant leaders and this approach works only in some situations and only for some people.

Which is fascinating if you happen to have been following the fierce (if sometimes nerdy) debate on the subject. But this research is useful even if you haven’t. It can help you assess both your own leadership style and the style of those you work with. All you have to do to start getting a sense of whether someone relies on dominance or prestige to get ahead is to look at their body language.

Source: Inc

Should I stay or should I go?

The topic of counter offers is an interesting one. I am sure you have seen articles and thoughts about the subject and they are usually one person’s perspective on the topic. For a somewhat different approach, we’ve reached out to people in our network to gain their thoughts and perspective on the topic.



We asked: You have just received an offer to join a new firm. You are giving notice to leave your current position and your employer makes a “counter offer” to keep you from leaving. You start to think about whether or not to take that “counter offer.”


I’m going to share my opinion from the employer’s side. My experience is that at best this is a short term affair when a counteroffer is made and accepted. Whenever I have made counteroffers, if accepted at all, the person may only be around another 6 months until they move on. Typically, the reasons for looking and leaving run much deeper than just money and if that is all that it was a much better way to handle it is to bring it to the company’s attention that you are, based on market research, underpaid.

Monty P. Hamilton,  CEO Rural Sourcing

If you make the decision to pursue an opportunity outside of your organization, you have made the decision to leave your organization.   If you are offered a job by a new company that you have prepared for, interviewed for and expressed interest in sincerely, you should take it and move on.    The key is to address the issues with your current company before you make the decision to pursue an opportunity outside.   If you feel you have earned a promotion or a raise, make your case to your employer and ask for what you want.   If you are not happy with your boss or colleagues, make an effort to improve the relationship.  If you want a new opportunity with your company, raise your hand and go for it.   If you do not get the answers you desire, then look for a new opportunity outside of the company.   If you get what you want after you tell your company that you are leaving, your company has communicated its true interest in supporting your career previously and you should move forward.  But beware, every company has its relative strengths and weaknesses – there will always be things you like and don’t like – they are just different.   If you expect to be happy elsewhere, by just changing your circumstances, you will be deeply disappointed.

Jonathan Donahue, Vice President Client Partner & Sales Executive, US Healthcare Insurance & Payments

Over a 30 year consulting career I have had three situations where changes in executive leadership direction have forced me into an external job search.  My takeaway is to pay closer attention to changes in executive leadership, and to take action looking for opportunities (internally and externally) more quickly than you would normally due to loyalty, job satisfaction, hope for better times, and inertia.

The first situation started when my manager’s manager accepted a role outside the company and brought my manager along.  New leadership flew in and changed the focus of our business (away from what I was doing).  I had inside knowledge 3 months in advance but said and did nothing (it was a confidential, F500 CEO move).

The second situation was when my manager and CEO (who hired me) left the company.  The 2nd line leadership team (four of us, plus functional leads) had a great 6 month run and exceeded all financial targets while the search for a new CEO progressed.  This period was the highlight of my career performance.  However, a new CEO was hired, business structures were changed, the leadership culture changed, and within 3 months I was asked to make room for my replacement.  I had maintained hope that things would ‘return to normal.’

The third situation started almost 18 months before when I was asked to participate in a possible spin-out of my business to another part of the corporation.  My manager’s manager rejected the change and we stayed in place.  A year before all hiring in our business was frozen, but the sales target was greatly increased which made the overall plan impossible.  Management reiterated an unwillingness to invest even a single resource in the business.  Four months before, an unrelated executive departure was filled, and the scope was increased to add a few businesses (including mine).  Even then I kept hoping that a healthy, profitable and synergistic consulting business would be safe.

Net-Net:  Pay closer attention to changes in management direction and act on signs earlier than you might normally.  I have waited too long to look internally and externally for opportunities, and to voice my concerns to my manager.  I suggest a more balanced approach.

Jeffrey Cohen, President, US Advanced Computing Infrastructure, Inc

More often than not, compensation is only one reason people decide to change employers, and often not the #1 reason.  So if everything else about the current situation is ideal, then the counter-offer may be worth considering.  If on the other hand the new opportunity is also a position upgrade, a dream opportunity with a desired employer, relocation to a favorite location, or other factors, then the counter offer is a non-event.

My advice when changing jobs is:  Be sure you are running TO something, not running FROM something.

Tom Mead, Senior Consultant at The Pedowitz Group

“Counter offers are a sensitive and polarizing topic, and there are consequences to them, even if they are received. While I was in a large CPG company’s Marketing department, a co-worker got a higher salary offer from another company, took that to her supervisor and management made a better offer to keep her so she stayed.  However, within the next year, the company went through some layoffs and she was let go:  Perhaps it was due to her now relatively-high compensation and/or because they knew she was disloyal or not happy (or she wouldn’t have been looking for a new job to begin with).

All circumstances are different, but one should weigh why you want to leave in the first place and be aware of the potential ramifications of asking for a counter offer.”

Steve Udell, Chief Marketing & Branding Officer / Marketing Consultant


We hope you find these perspectives interesting. If you would like to share your thoughts on this for future blogs, please let me know.


Larry Janis, Managing Partner I Integrated Search Solutions Group



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Pay Inequity Is Still A Thing—And It Matters

By Maria Colacurcio

In recent years, gender pay equity has become a topical discussion amongst the global workforce. Hollywood actresses and Olympic athletes have shared their stories of unequal pay for equal work; and there has been a slew of class-action suits and corporate scandals revealing discriminatory pay practices. As a result, investors, customers, employees and the law are all calling for progress on wage equality.

Is progress being made? It’s hard to say, but it is probably nowhere near enough as is needed. Some attribute this to the “pipeline” issue. That is, men and women freely choosing entirely divergent professional paths. The theory goes that men choose careers such as investment banking and software engineering and women choose professions such as nursing and teaching whose pay rates have been set (lower) by the natural market forces of supply and demand (or perhaps because of the long history of putting less value on women’s work). But if you look at computer programmers, women used to dominate the industry, then men flowed in. The pay automatically increased and the profession was viewed as more desirable. By contrast, as women flow into historically male professions, pay actually drops.

Some companies have made attempts to address the pay equity issue, but they’re often employing outdated approaches or third-party consultants. Reliable, scalable and accessible solutions have been limited. As a result, many companies have shied away from the issue of pay equity altogether, viewing it as simply too burdensome to tackle. Such lethargy produces pay practices which only perpetuate the gender pay gap. Unfortunately, women (and other underrepresented groups) can be faced with an uphill and solitary battle on the journey to equality.

Any effort to eradicate pay disparity in the workplace must be vigorously supported by the CEO, the leadership team and the board. If a board of directors or CEO is not genuinely dedicated to such an effort, then that effort will not happen, or will eventually fail. As a CEO, why should this be top-of-mind for you and your team?

Well, at a very fundamental level, it’s the right thing to do. When companies commit to equal pay for equal work, they send a powerful message to their current employees, future hires and their customers that they stand for something that is important to all, not just women. Additionally, having a fair and transparent pay process increases satisfaction and decreases turnover. A Gartner study revealed that there is a $16 billion cost for turnover in the tech industry alone.

If your organization does not yet have a robust and ongoing strategy for achieving pay equity, here is a step-by-step guide to help you check for pay disparities and commit to resolving them:

Step 1: You can’t stick your finger in the air as a gauge of pay equity. It takes asking the right questions and conducting detailed analyses. Make sure you have enough resources and technology in place to allow you to examine your data quickly and identify unfavorable trends.

Step 2: Shift the mindset from “protect and defend” compensation data to “find and fix” any gaps. This requires you to have the courage to share the results of your analysis in Step 1, but also the discipline to resolve any anomalies.

Step 3: Companies regularly ensure they are at market, so why not make pay equity a part of ongoing compensation benchmarking? Committing to regular and frequent pay analysis is the best way for companies to ensure they stay on top of this issue.

The CEO should be the catalyst for the organization’s journey to pay equity, but other key stakeholders such as the broader leadership team, the HR function, and middle managers are also key to success. There are many ways to fully involve these groups:

• Make it personal: Research has shown that the pay gap in groups of male managers who have daughters is smaller than amongst managers without daughters. This means that when an issue is personal, behavior changes no matter the gender.

• Make it a leadership issue: If you have a gender pay gap, it is a failure of leadership. Leaders have a role and responsibility to address this. As CEO, you must communicate with HR and managers, articulate the philosophy and strategy to achieve equal pay, and make sure to constantly share metrics and progress with managers and HR, so they can share with employees and external audiences. Commit to a quantitative approach to decide how pay is determined, setting salary ranges for each role, and then make these ranges available to your employees and recruits.

• Make it inclusive: It is not solely an issue to be discussed at a women’s leadership meeting. Make it a key agenda item for your next board meeting and your executive team meetings.

A good first step to kick-start this journey is to run a pay equity analysis leveraging a trusted solution with a vetted methodology. By utilizing a data-science powered software solution, you can determine where there are unexplained pay gaps and where you may need to employ remediation tactics to preserve your company’s culture and maintain legal compliance.

Source: Chief Executive


Strategising Customisation and Privacy in the Digital Age

by David Dubois, INSEAD Associate Professor of Marketing, and Joanna Teoh, INSEAD

Five golden rules to effectively balance personalisation and customer protection.

From AI-enabled chatbots to ads based on individuals’ search or social media activities, digital data offer novel ways to connect with customers. These connections can develop into intimate customer relationships that boost satisfaction, engagement and ultimately loyalty. Consider Netflix’s recent personalisation strategy, which enabled viewers of its series Bandersnatch to choose the main character’s actions throughout the episode, leading to five unique endings.

But there is a point where customer intimacy and invasion of privacy blurs. For instance, as early as 2012, Target predicted a teenage customer’s pregnancy through her historical purchase pattern data and sent her baby-related coupons, to the surprise of her own parents.

Where to draw the line between customer-benefitting personalisation and intrusion? This question is increasingly at the heart of every C-level executive’s agenda. In the digital age where data has become overabundant – 90 percent of the world’s data was produced in the last two years – corporations face the urgent need for a “data chart” defining their philosophy around the collection and use of customer data as it relates to value creation. Continue reading

A Better Way to Develop and Retain Top Talent

By Margaret Rogers

We’re in the middle of a work revolution. Globalization and the rise of artificial intelligence, paired with a new generation of consumers who desire more personal, intuitive brand experiences, are forcing companies to rethink their approach to talent management and acquisition. Workers with capabilities that allow them to keep up with this pace of change —  such as adaptability, technological literacy, and people-management — are now in steep demand. But today’s employers are struggling to keep them on board.

Promises of cushy perks and pay are often used to compete for top talent. Still, when you consider the cost of employee turnover — $600 billion in 2018 and $680 billion by 2020 — this extravagance seems counter intuitive. A Work Institute report predicted that one in four workers would leave their jobs in 2018. Nearly one-third of that turnover was attributed to unsupportive management and a lack of development opportunities.

The most obvious solution to upping employee retention, then, is creating more effective training and development programs. However, I hear from business leaders every day who struggle to achieve their goals despite having elaborate programs in place. The main issue here is that many of these programs aren’t designed with the user, or the employee, in mind.

A large swath of my career has been focused on user-centered design principles — placing the user top of mind to ensure success and understanding. The same mindset applies to effective employee development.

While training is often necessary when teaching people new skills, it’s only the first step toward a more distant end. In my experience, the most impactful development happens not through formal programs, but smaller moments that occur within the workplace: on-the-job learning opportunities that are wholeheartedly catered to the worker’s unique needs and challenges.

It might seem impossible to offer every employee this kind of personalized training, but any company can do so at scale when managers create a learning environment. Here’s how:

1) Start by asking more questions to gain insights on employees. Empathy and understanding are fundamental principles of user-centered design. Just like a business must understand what its customers need to produce the most useful products, managers must understand what their employees need to give them ideal learning opportunities. Asking questions is the best way to do this.

Start by scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with each team member. In addition to using this time to check in on their current projects, ask them what skills they’re most comfortable with and which they would like to develop. Inquire about areas that feel especially challenging.

Here are a few examples you can use to kick-start that process:

• What parts of your job are most interesting and rewarding?
• What areas are you finding most challenging right now?
• What are you doing to reach short- and long-term career goals?
• Are there any other projects, committees, or additional responsibilities you would like to be a part of?
• Is there anything else you’re curious about that you haven’t been able to explore yet?

In these meetings, practice active listening and try to come from a place of genuine curiosity rather than judgment. This means leaving your laptop closed and taking notes the old-fashioned way. It’s also helpful to repeat what employees say during meetings in your own words to ensure you are fully understanding their insights.

2) Create more on-the-job opportunities. Once you’ve identified the skills your team members want to learn, look for opportunities to help people develop them. Classroom-style training is a stellar foundation, but it can lose its effectiveness if it isn’t applied readily. “Learning moments” are an easier, quicker way to move the needle. These moments can be significant or small, but engaging employees in this way is key to helping them step outside their comfort zones, practice, and build confidence.

For example, imagine one of your employees is uncomfortable having tough yet necessary conversations. In a one-on-one meeting, he might express frustration about a peer who he is struggling to collaborate with. You could take this opportunity to create a “learning moment.” This might look like role-playing a tricky conversation or writing down a step-by-step plan of action. In this way, you are helping your team member practice and improve his communication skills in a safe setting (as opposed to simply sharing theoretical advice). The next time he comes across a similar situation, he will have tools to help him overcome it.

Treating every challenge your employees faces as an opportunity for practice and growth — whether it is something personal, like improving communication skills, or practical, like learning a new technology — is critical to establishing an environment in which people believe they are valued enough as individuals to be given the time and space to flourish. It also gives managers the chance to help their employees effectively upskill and reskill on a case-by-case basis as new obstacles arise outside of formal trainings and in everyday work experiences.

3) Vary learning experiences. Part of keeping the “user” top of mind is considering which experience will best cater to their personal needs. Factors such as the employee’s tenure, experience level, and adaptability are all variables that could impact that decision. Smaller opportunities— say, participation in projects where the employee can rely on more experienced peers for support — are best when a team member is unfamiliar with or newer to a necessary skill. Bigger opportunities that require employees to take risks and stretch beyond their comfort zones are more suited to individuals who have prior experience carrying out a certain task; in these moments, they can put their skills to the test more independently and play a larger role.

Pretend, for example, you have two employees who express interest in public speaking and presentations. They both recognize it’s a valuable skill to develop as they work toward becoming leaders. From previous meetings, you know one of them is less experienced than the other, and is therefore more nervous about speaking in public. This employee might benefit more from a small group setting, like a a lunch and learn during which he gives a short presentation. Because the other employee has had more practice in this area, a lunch and learn would not be as valuable for her. Instead, you might have her fly solo and present on a topic at the next company wide meeting or at a conference in front of a larger audience.

It’s important to save the most significant opportunities for those who are ready. These have higher stakes — for the employee, the project, and the company at large.

The level of control employees have over their growth should also vary. You might encourage a more experienced employee to design or seek out their own opportunities for growth, but a less experienced employee often requires more structure around key learning areas. Either way, it’s crucial to allow employees a level of autonomy. When left alone, people will naturally find innovative ways to accomplish new things. Experimenting with autonomy also allows mistakes to be made — just as much as it allows successes to be had. This will help you identify skill gaps and brainstorm ways people can fill them.

Remember, safety is necessary when confidence is low, but pushing employees to the edge of discomfort results in real development.

4) Provide regular feedback. Feedback is perhaps the most valuable aspect of this process, and it starts with setting clear expectations. As your team continues to carry out on-the-job opportunities, work with employees to set goals to strive toward. Provide regular feedback on what they are doing well and where you see opportunities for improvement.

During this time, be patient. Reflect on the work your employee has done up to this point, making sure to discuss both successes and failures without judgment. If an employee tried something new and it didn’t pan out, recognize the effort. People are more likely to grow from their experiences when they aren’t punished for failure. (In fact, they’re probably kicking themselves already.)

In the same vein, you can ensure employees actively apply what they’ve learned by putting together a plan for improvement — whether that means creating clearer deadlines, helping them better manage their time, or thinking through difficult problems when they arise. Tracking personal metrics is also a helpful way for employees to measure performance and growth on their own time.

5) Manage your time. It’s worth noting that employee development can be overwhelming, especially when you have a larger number of direct reports. Take proactive steps to avoid ending up with an unmanageable workload. Before shaping opportunities, determine how much bandwidth you have. What level of involvement and support are you capable of giving as a manager considering everything else on your plate? Setting realistic expectations for yourself is critical.

Keep in mind that not all coaching has to come from you. In some cases, you may be able to distribute employee-support tasks to informal mentors, other managers, senior leaders, or peers.

When leaders make an effort to implement these user-centered principles in their interactions, experiment with them, and continually refine their coaching based on those findings, they will not only see astounding growth, they will be able to effectively engage and retain top talent. Any company can begin by making a few changes to their managerial practices. It’s time for leaders to open communication channels and address each employee personally. Help your workers shape their learning and long-term contributions for the better.

Source: HBR