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The Posture Advantage – How Good Posture Can Elevate The Leadership Game

Written by: Lars Friedrich, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Lars Friedrich

Generally, a confident posture that opens up the body and takes up more space conveys a sense of power. Specifically, when leading others in corporate and entrepreneurial business environments, having a good posture makes people appear more trustworthy and confident the kind of leaders people want to follow.


Group of business people standing at office

Hierarchies are everywhere!

 

Interestingly, they are often passionately discussed and questioned in the vast landscape of corporate and entrepreneurial business environments.

 

Like the interconnected leadership with its positions and titles, it is often argued that hierarchies are human-made social constructs and merely invented to give certain people power over others.

 

But hierarchies are nothing exclusive to humans, and we've probably heard of the phrase "The Pecking Order" before without knowing where it originated.

 

The pecking order

 

The phrase comes from the research of Norwegian zoologist and comparative psychologist Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe, who studied barnyard chicken hens in the 1920s when he noticed a clear hierarchy among these birds.

 

At the top were the healthiest and strongest ones that always got to peck first when the daily feeding time came.

 

On the other hand, the weakest hens at the bottom, with their feathers falling out, only got to peck at the leftover crumbs.

 

And pecking orders like this aren't limited to chickens; they occur naturally throughout the animal kingdom which we, as humans, are unarguably a part of.

 

Hormone ratio


As another example from nature, lobsters, whether in the ocean or raised in captivity, will aggressively fight over the best and most secure spots for shelter!

 

Scientists have found that these competitive conflicts will lead to the winners and losers having different chemical balances in their brains.

 

Winners will have a higher ratio of the hormone serotonin to octopamine! In contrast, the ratio of losers will tilt in the opposite direction!

 

Interestingly, these levels affect the posture of lobsters, as more serotonin will lead to the winners being more agile and upright, and more octopamine makes losers tense and curled up.

 

This difference will factor into further confrontations, as the upright lobsters appear more extensive and intimidating, causing the tense ones to remain submissive.

 

Human-made hierarchies

 

As we are a part of nature and the animal kingdom, similar hierarchies and cycles of winning and losing naturally play out for humans, too.

 

Also, the hormones serotonin and octopamine have the same effects on human metabolism, impacting posture and body language.

 

Recent anthropological studies have additionally shown that people on a winning streak often display swaggering and confident body language, which can help them keep their streak alive and lead to more confidence.

"A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind." Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido

As a matter of fact, like lobsters, humans constantly measure themselves against each other, particularly in business environments!

 

And we associate a person's characteristics and corresponding abilities with their physicality, e.g. if someone looks healthy and radiant.

 

On a subconscious or conscious level!


The posture advantage

 

Undeniably, posture affects how people perceive others, and good posture is associated with success!

 

Just as someone with good posture sends nonverbal signals of energy, confidence, and health, a person with poor body posture appears uninterested, uncertain, or lethargic.

 

Obviously, this is different from the impression we want to project to others, particularly not when in a position of leadership or authority!

 

Because not only will a good posture empower, but it will also unconsciously convey that sense of confidence and leadership gravitas to others.

 

So, for every self-aware leader who wants to give themself a simple but powerful advantage and elevate their leadership game, applying some of the above-given and transferable insights might be a good start.

 

But also, they should prepare for conflicts, as other people will question their authority and leadership, as it is a natural response in the entire animal kingdom.

 

Nevertheless, the benefits of holding the head high in confidence and striking the posture of a winner will always trump the unavoidable drawbacks!


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Lars Friedrich Brainz Magazine
 

Lars Friedrich, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lars Friedrich is an expert in personal & professional leadership transformations refined with a touch of Zen. As a former Officer & Special Forces Operator, executive in international & intercultural corporate positions and founder of his boutique business, he has vast accumulated experience, expertise & knowledge in leadership, resilience, endurance, commitment, persistence & dedication. Furthermore, Lars Friedrich trained in traditional Japanese Martial Arts for 42 years and frequently travels to Japan for his ongoing tuition, which amplifies his experience. With family ties & homes in Australia, Finland & Germany, he is proudly serving & guiding male & female leaders via shared knowledge & passion.

 

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