A heated debate in leadership centers around the nature of how physical traits impact one's potential to lead. Systematic research shows that certain characteristics, such as height and attractiveness, can predict leadership (if even just a little bit). Taller people earn more money than shorter people (about $800) per year, and people who are slightly more attractive have better jobs (but not really beautiful people, we don't take really beautiful people seriously).
But the difference between what people attribute to leaders isn't always indicative of leadership effectiveness. A recent article at Slate.com, a product of the Washington Post, recently revisited the Kennedy-Nixon debate. Those of you who have taken my class know that I like to refer to the debates as a bit of conventional wisdom, that illustrates the point of how physical characteristics can have an impact.
Here is a link to the article:
There are a lot of examples of how physical characteristics impact perceptions of one's leadership ability . . . I look forward to hearing other examples readers of this blog might recognize. Stay tuned for a soon to appear blog, Joaquin Pheonix and the high art of deception.