What sort of first impression do you create as a leader?

We all know that the old saying that first impressions count, but do they really?

In his book 'Blink', Malcom Gladwell made a strong case for first impressions. Gladwell noted that we take a 'thin slice' of every situation we first encounter, and make an intuitive judgement on the situation or person based on own previous experiences.

Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy has recently studied this phenomena in greater detail, and her latest book 'Presence' highlights what we're looking for when we first meet someone.

Cuddy observes that we are seeking to answer two key questions when we first meet someone:

Can I trust you?

Can I respect you?

Cuddy's research concludes that we answer the questions in that order, because above anything else, we just want to know whether we are safe. Competence comes a close second.

So what? Well, unfortunately, too many leaders try to build new relationships through proving how competent they are, rather than starting by showing that they actually care about the person.

If you are serious about being a great leader, then focus on building empathy as well as expertise. Join us on one of our Leadership 101 workshops to work out how.