From “HBR“…

The first is that you’re always signaling about your intentions and feelings, and so is everyone else.  The second point is that most of the time you don’t pay conscious attention to all those signals — either the ones you’re putting out or the ones others are sending to you.  Your unconscious mind handles all that. It determines an extraordinary amount of the relationships you have with other people and your influence upon them.

In most organizations, there is a focus on the conscious-mind and how we present ourselves in that context. How are we appealing to the rational center of those with whom we interact. Of course this is important, but as a secondary consideration. We must acknowledge that everyone reacts subconsciously to each other well before their conscious faculties take over—even, then, subconscious cues are constantly exchanged. In order to leverage this fact, we must plan for how our subconscious cues will be based prior to interaction. This, then, should be wrapped in our overall projection of our persona within the organization—our demeanor. There is substantial power in demeanor and our attention to it can yield significant benefit, if we carefully consider how to best apply it in our particular organization. With this consideration, we can use our demeanor to achieve elevated regard in the organization as well as to move the general demeanor of the organization along a generally better path.

From “The Junior Executive”…

On this path, then, we must methodically and sensitively modify our demeanor and public persona (attitude, verbal and written behavior, dress, etc.) to move from the cultural norm toward the Form. The rate of change, degree of change, and scope of change are all far less important than the fact that change is happening. It is the simple act of moving the culture toward the Form that creates the value. Done correctly, it will engender faith among senior leadership and subordinates that we can be trusted, admired, and are working toward the betterment of the organization. Among our competitors, it will be one more measure by which we are winning.

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