It’s been torture seeing Sarah getting the extra pay that you deserve. You can’t help but wonder — a whole lot more than you’d like — what she has that you don’t.
The answer is simple, and it’s something easily attainable.
Sarah has confidence. And, rather than walking around with it stuffed in her pocket, she wears it on her sleeve for everyone to see.
When Sarah sits at her desk, she sits with her arms up, hands clasped behind her head. Every now and then, she may even sit with her feet on her desk.
Maybe you found her behavior distasteful, but Sarah’s confidence was an announcement to your boss that, “Hey, I’m the woman for the job.” Your boss subconsciously absorbed that message.
It’s All in the Posture
How were you sitting at your desk when Sarah was kicking back at hers? You probably were rubbing your neck, trying to knead away the day’s disappointment.
That hand on your neck told your boss that you’re the exact opposite of Sarah. It screamed, “Sarah knows what she’s doing… and I don’t. That’s why I’m hiding.”
Amy Cuddy, a Harvard professor specializing in body language, reported that different poses not only affect how you’re perceived, but also how you feel.
So while you may think you’re sitting at your desk normally, you may actually be broadcasting messages of weakness and ineffectiveness, which are two traits that bosses don’t want or need on their team.
What Professor Cuddy discovered through her studies is that certain poses are considered “high-power” poses — both because they increase testosterone and the mental capacity to take risks, and because they make you appear larger than you are.
Low-power poses accomplish the opposite. They decrease your risk-taking, and they make you look smaller and weaker.
Sounds crazy, right?
Try It Out
Right now, open your arms over your head and at angles to form an X. Feel a bit bigger? You look a lot bigger to the guy sitting beside you. He’ll automatically take a “low-power” pose in response to your high-power prowess. That’s part of the high-power/low-power exchange. You’ll be sending signals that you’re “bigger and better” and the other guy may reciprocate with a pose that says, “I see you, and I agree.”
Now try standing with your hands on your hips like Diana Prince (come on, you know who Wonder Woman is!). Hold that pose for two minutes. Do your surroundings look clearer? Do you feel more powerful — like you could take on anyone?
It’s in the Bag
To prove her theories worked in the job place, Professor Cuddy conducted experiments about risk taking and prospective employer acceptance. She had some job-hopefuls practice low-power poses before her mock interviews. Then, she had another group practice the high-power poses.
What she discovered was that the “employers” almost always opted for the “applicants” who practiced the power poses.
Because they had held the positions long enough, they raised their testosterone levels and became more confident in their answers and abilities, thereby exceeding the expectations of the interviewers.
Likewise, the low-power posers lost out because the employers failed to see them as someone who would add quality to their team. Their answers rarely delivered the confidence or the solutions that the interviewers wanted.
So How Can You Improve Your Job Performance and Get That Raise?
Start by making it a daily practice to take on a few power poses, especially if you know you have a meeting with the boss coming up. Do the Diane Prince (hands on hips, feet apart). Practice the “Yes, I am the boss” pose (sit in your chair with one leg crossed over your knee and hands locked behind your head). Or, try propping your feet on your desk with your hands clasped behind your head.
But don’t be naive.
It takes more than putting your hands on your hips to get a raise or become your office leader. So put your boss’ needs into perspective and start delivering better work now that you‘re wearing a power cape!
Employers are looking for the value you know you can bring… now get out there and show it.
Do you think power poses would help you boost your job performance?