Dress for Success - It's an INside Job

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Dress for Success, it's the first opportunity to make a good impression! I'm sure we can all attest to at least one time where we judged if someone was worthy of being in the room, or the industry, by what they were wearing. Of course, as professionals we should pay attention to our attire and dress appropriately but I encourage us to move beyond looking only to external accoutrements to determine if we, those we lead, and those who are preparing to lead are truly Dressed for Success. 

Dressing for Success starts as an INside job. As leaders, it is our responsibility to change the narrative and take the lead to reframe and teach the true meaning of these three very important words. Dress for Success is about who we are, our internal skills, and how prepared we are to lead, not just the clothes we wear. 

There are increased opportunities to do business globally, an upsurge in entrepreneurship, and generations who think and function differently entering the workplace. We can begin to teach and instill in ourselves and others the INside qualities needed to be holistically dressed for success. We can no longer continue to judge if a person is prepared for success in the initial minutes we meet them based solely on what they are wearing.  Let's commit to a changing our mindset and devote more time to become well-rounded leaders, on the inside and the outside. Let's train our young leaders on essential skills needed to succeed irrespective of wearing jeans or a designer suit. 

Below is a list of 5 INside people skills that prepare us and future leaders to move beyond the mask of "great" clothes and handle the different expectations, attitudes, and behaviors that exist in a diverse workplace and world. 

Confidence: Demonstrating inner confidence is more than words. One knows and studies their craft and is confident in their skills and knowledge. They embrace opportunities to teach others and are not intimidated by those who may be more successful. They are willing to take on challenges, lead, and follow.

Emotional Intelligence: Understanding our emotions and recognizing those of others are key relationship building skills needed to be an effective leader. Exhibiting personal emotional control while interacting with others, as well as facing challenges and working through setbacks is a necessary inside skill to develop. 

Critical Thinking: Being a critical thinker is having the ability to think through systems and processes,  pose vital and precise questions, and problems. One can gather and assess detailed information and provide well-reasoned conclusions and solutions.

Collaboration: Collaboration is teamwork on steroids. One must learn and apply the concept of give and take. There is an acceptance that everyone will contribute to the process, albeit differently, and will continuously work together. Members understand it is not about winning individually but using the collective to achieve a common purpose. 

Active Listening: Being willing to give one's full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate and not interrupting is a learned skill. It must be cultivated and consistently practiced to be impactful. 

Dress for Success has to include demonstrating the qualities and developing critical skills to lead effectively. The idea that is all about what clothes one wears is a myth. We need inner preparation and growth to move our businesses and careers forward and achieve sustainable success. Otherwise, we just look good. 

Thanks for reading my blog! You are encouraged to share your opinion, or success of how you developed your INside self and are fully equipped to Dress for Success. 

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Let's grow together. 

Susan - Your Global Soft Skills Success Coach, Trainer, & Speaker