Arrogance, Confidence, Humility, Leadership, Visibility

Guest Blog: Confidence, Arrogance, Visibility and Humility

Leaders inspire others by their example and so leaders must be visible, whether in a corporate setting or an entrepreneurial one, in small groups or on a worldwide stage.

“There’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance…its called humility. Confidence smiles. Arrogance smirks” (unknown)phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpg

Jim Collins is a business consultant and author on company sustainability and growth; in his book “Good to Great (2001)” Collins argues that the key ingredient that allows a company to become great is having an executive in whom genuine personal humility blends with intense professional will.

Visibility used to be restricted to the people you met; now you can interact on a global stage using your smart phone. People’s memories fade but a digital footprint lasts forever. Navigating the line between confidence and arrogance is as old as leadership itself but having an online presence ups the ante. Leaders now have an ‘online brand’; you’ve got a LinkedIn profile – right? Whether you call it a brand, or your reputation, whether it’s online or in person, how you come across as a leader impacts your ability to influence others. Too much humility and you’ll be an invisible wallflower, too little and you run the risk of being an arrogant oaf.

Here are some definitions in the context of leadership:

  • Confidence: A feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities:
  • Arrogant: Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities:
  • Humility: Recognizing what we do well, as well as what we do not do so well, is vital to self-awareness, openness and having a clear perspective, and therefore respect, for one’s place in context.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” (C. S. Lewis)

Perception is reality. No matter how good your intentions are, what matters is how you are perceived. Here are 10 ways to stay on the confident side of the line…

  1. Maintain eye contact (arrogant people constantly look over people’s shoulder for someone ‘better’ to talk to)
  2. Arrive on time, every time (arrogant people think their time is more important than everyone else’s)
  3. Walk with confidence (not with swagger)
  4. Admit you don’t know and learn something in the process (arrogant people have an answer for everything and as a result are often unteachable).
  5. Seek to be interested more than interesting (arrogant people are more concerned with telling you what they know)
  6. Talk about your relevant accomplishments and contacts (arrogant people brag and name-drop out of context)
  7. Acknowledge what others do (don’t be condescending or put others down)
  8. Talk about the strengths of your own company (not the weaknesses of others)
  9. Delegate authority and responsibility (arrogant people “pull rank”)
  10. Adopt a “buck stops here” attitude to responsibility (arrogant people blame others when things don’t go to plan)visibility_continuum

This guest blog was written by associate Dr Angela Armstrong of http://www.angelaarmstrong.cAngela Armstrongom.  Please contact Angela is you would like to know more about her coaching, consultancy and training.

Authentic, Authenticity, Body Language, Confidence, First Impressions, Image consultancy, Leadership, Lyn Bromley, Men in Business, Women in business

How to Express Your Leadership Presence

iStock_000017925351SmallLeaders of men and women come in many guises, from successful business people like Richard Branson and Sheryl Sandberg, to spiritual and political leaders like Gandhi or Martin Luther King.  One thing effective leaders have in common is presence and by learning how to maximise yours, you will be developing an essential vital non-verbal communication skill that will ensure you look like a leader. The art of communication is surely one of the most vital skills of any leader, the power to persuade and appearance plays and important role in that process. In this very visual world, we are all influenced by what we see and so our appearance needs to match what’s on the inside – our abilities, characteristics and values. Otherwise, we get mixed messages. The ability to manage our image is a positive communication skill and something we can easily learn like any other for career success.

Deep impact

First and foremost, you have to make an impact. Effective leaders will almost always have ‘presence’ or that indefinable X factor. They will either give an impression of quiet authority or of obvious power, according to their personal style. Your posture, demeanour and the way you interact with people – as well as appearance – will all contribute to your personal presence. It has often been described that leaders ‘take up space’ and are comfortable doing so. They stand, move and dress confidently and assertively.  Good leaders will be well aware of the subliminal messages of non-verbal communication, including image and your body language, and will use these tricks effectively. Leaders also make the rules rather than follow them and have the confidence to dress to reflect their personality and business. Think of Sir John Harvey-Jones with his natty suits and flamboyant socks, Richard Branson’s early years in his approachable knitwear or Anita Roddick’s style echoing her individuality and ethical interests. Each of these leaders has a very distinctive personal image. You need to develop your personal style to suit your style of leadership. Whatever look you choose, you must be true to your personality and remain individual to ensure you’re memorable.

Feel the quality

And, whether you believe money is the measure of success or not, when it comes to appearance, quality counts.  That doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive items you can find – it’s about seeking clothes and accessories where the quality of the material and craftsmanship is evident.  A perfectly fitting lightweight wool suit, an immaculate silk tie or a beautifully stitched handbag in softest leather – they all breathe quality.  Too often in corporate life, an individual’s impact is marred by the inclusion of an item that jars.  A smart tailored suit and crisp shirt can be undermined by teaming them with a cheap plastic watch and biro.  It gives out a message of poor judgement, poor quality and a sloppy approach to work.  The subliminal message you want people to pick up from your appearance is ‘here is someone who knows what they are doing, where they are going, with sound judgement and an eye for quality and detail’.

Role Model

Another aspect of effective leadership is taking your duty as a role model seriously.  Individuals leading their own businesses can obviously make the rules, but should remember that they are role models for those following them up the career ladder and so should set the standard for the company.  Giving clear messages to your employees about how you expect them to dress at work will make them feel far more comfortable than a confusing ‘anything goes’ atmosphere.   Make it clear to your staff or team just what you expect of them – and avoid vague terms than can be misinterpreted. The current trend towards a ‘modern professional’ dress code, where an employee is expected to make judgements about what look each day’s activities require, is a good test of their business acumen. Judging when to opt for ‘formal business’, knowing when ‘relaxed business’ will do or when ‘business casual’ is the order of the day takes perception – and that’s a valuable skill to have on your team. You will want your staff and clients to have absolute faith in you and your ability to make good decisions, so a good leader will need to earn respect.   Your clothes can play their part – err on the side of formality or, if the culture in which you work demands a business casual approach, keep it smart and co-ordinated and of good quality. And, of course, your clothes need to match the culture and values of your organisation. For example, in a young, innovative company, you’ll need to be more casual and keep a closer eye on fashion trends. Knowledge of colour will also be valuable to know how to look more authoritative when you need to. This is especially true when selecting business casual items as they are often more colourful and require good co-ordination.  There will also be occasions when you need to project more approachability and subtle changes in the way you wear colour can help achieve this.

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events for FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: Website:

Body Language, Business Etiquette, Confidence, First Impressions, Interview Tips

34 Crucial Interview Tips

In this info graphic by College Atlas, they share 34 crucial interview tips.  In their research, speaking to employers, they feedback the job-interview-tipskey points they noticed, or those that put them off a prospective employee.  In our experience and research, we have found the same.   Here are the common mistakes made:-

  • 67% fail to make eye contact
  • 47% have little knowledge about the company they are applying for
  • 38% don’t smile
  • 33% have poor posture
  • 33% fidget too much
  • 26% have a weak handshake – a personal dislike of mine!
  • 21% play with hair or touch their face
  • 21% cross their arms
  • 9% use too many hand gestures

More than 2000 managers claimed to know whether they would hire someone within 90 seconds

Most Common Mistakes

  1. Over explaining why you lost your last job
  2. Conveying that you are not over losing your last job
  3. Lacking humour, warmth or personality
  4. Not showing enough enthusiasm
  5. Inadequate research about the prospective employer
  6. Concentrating too much on what you want
  7. Trying to be all things to all people
  8. “Winging” the interview
  9. Failing to set yourself apart from other candidates
  10. Failing to ask for the job

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: Website:

Air Brushing, Body Confidence, Body Image, Cindy Crawford, Confidence, First Impressions

Body Confidence: Cindy Crawford’s Tummy Makes an Impression!

Cindy CrawfordWhat do you feel when you look at this image?  It has caused a huge amount of discussion over the last few days, almost breaking Twitter! It is a photograph of Cindy Crawford, which is reputed to have been leaked from an earlier photo shoot for Marie Claire. The shot has not been airbrushed or photo-shopped at all.  It may come as quite a shock, even to adults, that most images we see in magazines have been enhanced in some way.

We’ve become conditioned to look at photographs that are perceived as ‘flawless’ or ‘perfect’.  In who’s eyes I wonder. The reaction by many people, particularly women, has been one of relief!  “Thank goodness, even super models have stretch marks”.  “She looks more ‘normal”. I believe that this could send a great message out to everyone – particularly our daughters.  Do we really want them to be measuring themselves against an idealised image of artistic perfection shown in many magazines?  When I talk about body confidence in schools, pupils are pretty savvy to the fact that airbrushing happens.  They love the before and after pictures and enjoy spotting the differences and exactly what has been altered. Every time I run this exercise, even with children as young as 11, they are all shocked by the degree of image manipulation that happens. They often feel cross that companies dupe us into thinking that the images are real life.

Isn’t it about time someone as influential as Cindy showed us what it is really like? If she chose to do this, I’m really pleased.  If she didn’t choose and someone leaked it, I’m still pleased it’s out in the open and Cindy seems to be pretty gracious about it – I for one have been banging the drum for transparency and authenticity for years!  Most importantly, she looks confident and self assured, qualities to be proud of in any woman. In a recent interview she said  “I really think—at any age—it’s learning to be comfortable in your own skin. …If women would treat themselves with the same kind of love they give to their friends, that would be such a great gift we could give ourselves. …What makes you the most attractive is self-confidence. That’s what people see.”

Many women we work with have issues with their self-image and confidence. They believe the myth that the media creates and they strive for an unattainable look. The key to being self-confident is to accept yourself the way you are and to make the most of of your natural beauty – just as Cindy Crawford is doing here.

What do you think of the image? – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: Website:

Confidence, Member Monday, Positivity, Self-Image

Member’s Monday – Positive Self-Image by Agnès Brown

Follow your dreamsHow a positive Self-Image can help you accomplish your dreams Having self-confidence is essential no matter what you do in life. Whether you want to run your own business, succeed in your career, have better personal relationships, or follow your dreams. Without self-belief and a healthy dose of self-esteem you’ll never take the necessary steps to achieving your goals. Having good self-esteem helps you to:

  • Try new things
  • Make healthy personal choices
  • Believe in yourself

Being happy with your self-image is key to building up self-confidence and self-esteem, for how can we present ourselves to the world if we are not altogether positive about how we are viewed, or view ourselves? What is Self-Image? Our self-image is how we perceive ourselves and is made up over time from experiences which could lead us to feel positively or negatively about ourselves. There is no denying that our self-image has a huge impact on our general happiness and wellbeing. People that project a positive self-image, i.e. smart, well dressed, clean and confident will be more likely to be seen as positive and capable. And of course the reverse can also be true. By presenting a positive self-image it is possible to boost our self-esteem and confidence, and this will have an impact on our lives in a constructive and affirmative way. There are many ways in which you can build your self-confidence by taking a careful look at your self-image.

  • Are you wearing clothes that flatter your figure?
  • Do the colours you typically wear compliment your skin and hair tones?
  • Are you maximising your best assets?

It is important to remember that your self-image is not fixed but ever-changing and malleable. You can develop your self-image and foster a more positive one by:

  • Accepting yourself as a unique person
  • Refraining from comparing yourself to others
  • Asking others to list your positive qualities
  • Being comfortable in your own skin

It’s certainly not easy to build a positive self-image if you have been trapped in negative thinking for a while, and it takes time to change and appreciate that we are all different. But once you start to work on improving your self-image, you’ll naturally become more confident and realise that a healthy self-image comes from loving and accepting ourselves first. And the more you recognise how unique and special you are, the more qualities, skills, and talents you’ll uncover. Agnès Brown – Master Trainer

Colour, Colour Psychology, Confidence

Colour Psychology – Blue

Blue is a great colour for business as it stands for:

  • Clear Communication
  • Intelligence
  • Trustworthy
  • Conservative (with a small ‘c’)
  • Credible
  • Efficient
Speaking at the Women Working in Construction Event 2012

Speaking at the Women Working in Construction Event 2012

Here I am wearing a cobalt blue dress when I spoke at a Women Working in Construction event in 2012.  Teamed with my accessories, it looks less formal, even though the style of the dress is quite corporate.  I had it made in Shanghai, just in case you were wondering!

My aim was to stand out, as I was the speaker, to nod to corporate style, but not to be dressed the same as everyone else at the event.  You can see that corporate coloured suits was the main theme for the attendees, with the odd pop of colour.  I was there speaking about ‘Maximising Your Personal Brand’ – so there was no use blending in!

What does the colour blue conjure up for you?  Most people think of the blue they see around them in nature – the sky, the sea, blue eyes and blue flowers.  Maybe with the popularity of blue jeans, it has become a very prolific colour for us to wear too.  In corporate life, the neutrals used in suiting fabric tend to be black, grey and blue, with deeper blues erring on the more formal authoritative side.

We use blue in our language too – here are a few for you to consider:

  • Blue blood – to mean nobility
  • Blue movies – to indicate x-rated content!  It stems from ‘blue laws’ that existed many years ago and it is the same as Sunday Laws – to ban trading on the Sabbath.  Of course, this no longer exists, but the term ‘blue’ was adopted to mean prohibited.
  • Blue gowns – prostitutes
  • Bluestockings – learned ladies – stemming from 1750

Everyone can wear blue, but different shades may be appropriate depending upon your natural colouring.  They can be categorised into:

Deep and light

Cool and warm

Bright and muted.

There will be a shade that suits you best!  Which do you think it might be?

Blue DeepBlue light  Blue BrightBlue WarmBlue Cool Blue Muted

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke training and workshops or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK and in 20 countries around the world– to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: Website:

Colour, Confidence, Dress, First Impressions, Lyn Bromley, Women

New Year’s Eve Dress Shopping

There are still five full days to go until New Year’s Eve.   Are you still looking for that perfect party dress?  If you already know what suit you in terms of colour (yes, there are more choices than just black!) and style, it can sometimes be tricky to find something that ticks all the boxes.  I especially find this once the sales are on – there will be a reduced selection out there and many of the best ones will have already gone.  It just means that you need to look a bit harder and there may well be a gem of a dress waiting to be discovered.  Here is my own personal search for a dress for the party season.

My ideal dress would be a cool and bright colour – one which has a blue undertone and a vibrant quality to its colour.  It would have an angular neckline, so either a ‘V’ or a slash neck, it would be fitted in at the waist and either a full skirt (1940’s style) or a gradual A line – I don’t favour the full A line, even thought I could wear one.  I could also go for a pencil, albeit, it has to be one with some shaping from the waist with a curve to it to skim my hips.

My search starts with colour first – it’s a really quick way to eliminate what is not right for you straight off and saves lots of time. So for me, I scan the rails for cool and bright shades – I particularly love reds, pinks, blues, purples and I also love silver.  At this time of year there are so many dark shades – lots of blacks, charcoals, deep reds, purples and of course lots of forest green.  All of which are too deep for me, so they are ruled out straight away!

Once I find a colour I like, I take it off the rail and look at the design.  I’ll specifically look at the neckline, the waist, the length and any particular design details – i.e. for me, I wouldn’t want any large pockets on my hips (my widest part!) they would just draw attention to an area that I don’t want to highlight.  I’d much rather have definition at the waist with a belt, ruching, or embellishment.  Some consultants would say that you need to tick all of those boxes, for me, I like to break the rules, so as long as it fits the majority, I’m happy.  It makes sense to make the most of your figure so you look and feel your best right?

Here is what I found – a lovely Coast dress – Lianna lace dress.  It was originally £125 and I got it for £49 in the sale – bargain! The colour is perfect for me – it is actually pink, but looks red on the computer screen – do watch out for that – colours can look deceptively different on screen.  Lianna Coast DressI ordered another one recently from House of Fraser – it looked bright red and when it came it was deeper and much more muted – needless to say, it’s going back!  I had ordered it on click and collect, so no postage or return charges.  Do watch out for that when sale shopping, you can get stung on the postage costs if you are not careful.  Many stores will allow you to order on line and have them delivered to their local store at no cost.

Anyway, I digress, the shape is great -waist definition, shaped around the hips and flattering for my body shape.  The neckline is not perfect – it would be better as a V-neck for me, but I do like this draped neckline and it is not too curved – it actually sits quite straight when it is on.

The main acid test for me – when I put it on I loved it!  I already wore it to a Christmas party and I’m planning on wearing it for New Year’s Eve too.  Enjoy your dress shopping and don’t settle for something in a fit of adrenaline that you will never wear again!  It’s only a bargain if you wear it and it works with other things in your wardrobe.  I have a lovely fake fur jacket in cool silver grey and strappy silver heels to go with mine.  I also added an angular brooch to add a bit more of an angular look to the dress.  Happy shopping!