Leading In Levi’s

You have to love the dress code.  It’s a set of rules on what to wear in the work place, but rules are meant to be broken…  Think of the employee that comes into your office who likes wearing the same shirt they wear on laundry day, or the person dressed in those grey sweat pants on a daily basis. (Are those the same pants you had on three days in a row?) 

These individuals are the topics of the water cooler conversations at your work place, but most of the remarks seem to be negative.  Sure, they might not have a taste in clothing that we agree with, but these negative comments always make us forget how these employees actually perform.  We quickly forget that the person wearing the brown khakis with the shredded pant legs is also the same person that helped us meet our project deadline last week. 

Why is it that we’re so quick to pass judgment, especially based on appearances?  I’m not saying you shouldn’t look professional, especially in front of customers, but how do the clothes you wear impact your performance?  After all, some of today’s greatest leaders are walking around in jeans.  Look at Steve Jobs, who is at the helm one of the most successful technology companies in the world.  Even in the political world, President Obama has been seen on occasion wearing jeans.  Both of these individuals are greatly successful, but their appearances don’t always show it.

Today’s lesson is this: The look doesn’t matter as much as the act.  Don’t cast someone out because of the way they appear.  It’s who they are and how they perform which really matters.

Now, where are my fuzzy pink slippers?

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  • Comments (6)
    • Dee
    • April 20th, 2010

    There is a degree to which I think clothing can impede productivity and performance. Creating too casual an atmosphere may imply that a lack of urgency or accountability is acceptable.

    Of course, I’ve been in the working world for 30 years, so I’m a bit old school.

    • Thank you for your comments, Dee! I agree whole-heartedly in that you don’t want to create an environment where productivity suffers because of employee appearances.

      At the same time, one should not think that someone is a “slacker” or a poor worker because of what they wear. Appearances can be deceiving, and we should all remember to look past appearances to see the real individual.

    • Dee
    • April 20th, 2010

    Now we vehemently agree! So many organizations have overlooked too many precious gems in their midst with that type of thinking. Most everyone has something to contribute, and they should be given the opportunity to do so at their highest level of capability.

    I look forward to your next post!

    • Lisa
    • May 18th, 2010

    I agree, Matt! While being and looking professional is always important, I think it should be ok to show a little personality too.

    …so I hope it’s cool by you if I keep wearing Converse with my khaki’s?!

    Oh and I borrowed your pink slippers, but I swear I put them back exactly where I found them.

    • You can definitely keep wearing the Converse/Khaki mix, Lisa, but my pink slippers are off-limits!

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