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You are here: Blog Business Weekly: Guest blog Personal grooming

Personal grooming

Will-Mooney-carter-Jonas

Will Mooney, Carter Jonas partner and joint head of its commercial agency and professional services in the eastern region, is getting up close and personal.

“Give me the child until he is seven and I’ll show you the man” is a quote attributed to the Iberian-born 16th Century Jesuit missionary St Francis Xavier and when you take a look round at our current crop of political leaders, it’s difficult to disagree with his maxim.

I suppose it was ever thus. But, at a time when the certainties of the economic and political systems with which we’ve grown up and come to depend upon to reinforce our position in the world are being challenged on all sides, we do seem to be examining the personal credentials of our leaders and our leaders’ lives rather more than when things were less shaky.

Indeed, the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition spent over an hour at his Party’s conference in the autumn giving us a glimpse of his 1980s’ teenage education at a North London comprehensive school. Yet, neither the school nor the personal disclosure were quite as comprehensive as they might have been.

The state school in question has the exclusive ‘London NW3’ postcode and, even in the 1980s, many houses in its catchment area would have been nudging the million plus mark.

If the speech had been given in the 1980s by the leader of the Labour Party, you would think he wouldn’t neglect to mention that his father was one of the leading Marxist’s thinkers of the 20th Century. Yet in 2012, he did.

I bet Ralph Miliband could tell his youngest son a thing or two about the dangers of the cult of the personality.

So it was with some relief that a notable tweet from @BBCSport in that same week appeared to indicate, momentarily and in less than 140 characters, that sportsmen were better equipped than our politicians to sort out the ongoing financial crisis. It read: “ECB and Kevin Pietersen reach agreement.”

Sadly, the ECB of the tweet was the England and Wales Cricket Board and not the European Central Bank. So it was more wickets and bails than bailouts. Now then, KP’s relationships with England’s cricket establishment and his team mates are classic examples of both the cult of the personality and the over reliance on one person to deliver the goods.

So while in politics and sport, to focus too strongly on one personality can be fatal, in business to have a strong, charismatic leader at the helm of a company is often seen as beneficial.

Not only that, but it appears that to get ahead in business as a bloke these days you don’t need to get a hat but a shaven pate.

That’s what a recent study by an academic at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School has concluded. An accompanying newspaper article referenced Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and UK-grown entrepreneur Allan Leighton as if to ‘bullet-head’ proof the theory in contrast to the luxurious mane of Nick Buckles of G4S.

The research, called ‘Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance’, concluded that we perceive shaven-headed men who sport the ‘power buzz’ fuzz haircut as more powerful than those with a full head of hair because the hairstyle (or lack of) is associated with über-masculine images such as soldiers and Hollywood blockbuster heroes.

You see why the only observation I make, by way of a conclusion here, is that the leaders of our three main political parties all have fulsome heads of well-coiffured hair. And then there’s the Boris.

www.carterjonas.co.uk/

@CarterJonas

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