The Persistence of First Impressions
Imagine you are sitting in a new employee orientation at a Fortune 500 company. You are excited to begin work and looking forward to learning about the company’s mission, vision, and goals. Mark, a senior executive enters the room. At first glance, you notice his clothing. He’s wearing ill-fitting, causal, khaki pants, a tight button down collar shirt with a small coffee stain, no tie and he has long, unruly hair. He begins speaking without introducing himself and talks in a quiet, monotone voice. As he is speaking, he seldom looks up and rarely makes eye contact. The moment Mark walked into the room, you began forming opinions about him and the company that just hired you. This powerful first impression may have caused you to second-guess your decision to join this company. Now imagine you are sitting in a new employee orientation and Samantha, a senior executive enters the room. You notice that Samantha is very polished and professional looking. She smiles as she enters the room and introduces herself and her role in the company. Just a quick glance at Samantha and you are reassured about the leadership in this company. Mark and Samantha only have moments to present their company and themselves in a positive light. These first impressions are vital to your opinion about the company and it takes about three seconds for you to form a conclusion (Flora, 2004). In this scenario, Samantha knows that she is being evaluated and that her body language, appearance, and mannerisms are critical to setting the tone for her as a leader. Her smile and professional look can influence and inspire you. Even if she behaves differently in the future, your first impression of her as an effective leader will motivate you to support her in achieving the company’s goals. Unfortunately, for Mark, the opposite is true. If a few weeks later you see him in a situation where his employees respect and support him as a leader, your...
References: Flora, Carlin, (2004, May 01). The Once Over. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201203/the-first-impression/first-glance-0
University of Western Ontario (2011, January 21). Why first impressions are so persistent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/01/110118113445.htm
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