Your clothing choice is a personal expression of who you are, from laid-back casual to polished and put together.
Your clothes can be even more revealing when you’re in a management position, instantly broadcasting your personality and view of the world.
Inspired by New York’s Fashion Week, we decided to take a closer look at the fashion choices of today’s top executives and what it says about their management styles. We wondered, what does Marissa Mayer’s preference for bold colours and patterns say about how she runs Yahoo? What about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s iconic hoodie?
The CEO of Yahoo may often be criticised for being a fashionista who wears designer labels, but Dixon says this criticism comes from being a woman in a predominantly male industry. According to Dixon, the fact that Mayer continues to stay true to her fashion sense and is often seen in fun colours and patterns correlates with her ability to think outside the box.
Mayer shows this in her management style. Shortly after taking the reigns as Yahoo's CEO, the company took on a massive redesign of its site.
'She has been known for mixing things up,' says Dixon, 'whether she is establishing new requirements like implementing sign-up sheets outside her office for a five-minute meeting, or ending the long-standing work-from-home policy at Yahoo.'
Elon Musk's fashion sense is sleek, cool, and put together -- similar to his innovative and creative way of thinking.
When you see Musk, he is usually in a sleek, polished ensemble, but nothing too fashion-forward.
What does this say about him? Dixon thinks it means the creator of Tesla Motors is a 'no-fuss guy.'
'This personal style has definitely manifested itself into his $US7.7 billion career story,' she says. 'From creating PayPal, making it super easy for small-business owners and consultants to run transactions, to government and non-profit organisations looking for electricity (SolarCity), Musk has definitely brought the no-fuss, easy-living experience to (his business life).'
Branson, a high school dropout who now runs an international powerhouse worth $US4.6 billion, has never been one to do things the typical way. The fashion statements of Virgin's CEO have included a British flag suit and even an astronaut costume.
Whatever he's wearing, it's all about switching things up, and he runs his business in much the same way, says Dixon.
'In his book, 'Like A Virgin,' Branson encourages readers to have fun with their businesses, team, and suppliers,' she says. 'You definitely get the sense that he is also a fan of having fun with personal style.'
'A quick image Google search reveals that (Sandberg) consistently opts for a monochromatic look,' Dixon says. 'This consistency rolls over into her management style as she is known for remembering birthdays, often texts people seconds before presentations with words of encouragement, and has a system in place to ensure that all her emails are answered.'
Gates is one of those guys you never saw coming. His casual wear may cause you to overlook him, but this is very much a strategic move, says Dixon. Gates is 'innovative, feisty, and combative at times,' but he doesn't want you to think so by being a fashion rebel or uber-stylish person. How else does he keep his competitors guessing?
Gates is so innovative, he doesn't need to scream it to the world through his fashion sense. But don't underestimate this guy. His fashion style communicates that he manages in a way where he expects others to be on top of their game. He expects simple innovation, but doesn't want to deal with the fuss along the way, says Dixon.
Stewart is the face of her business so what she steps out in every day needs to align with the mum-chic style that her brand represents. Her put-together, yet sleek look communicates that she's ready to get down to business and manages in a straight-forward fashion.
'Serving as the poster child for her empire, Stewart uses her personal image and style to send the message to her consumers that she definitely knows how to bake the perfect casserole, in the perfect dish, served with the perfect flatware,' Dixon says.
'This man literally changed the mayor game here in New York City, and the way the financial services industry receives crucial information,' Dixon says.
He is all business and shows it through what he wears.
'Some might argue that he dresses the way he does because he is a high-profile politician,' Dixon says. 'I think he opts for a more traditional personal style as it's in line with a personality trait that makes him think he has the authority to take what he wants.'
Lloyd Blankfein's conservatism is seen in both his fashion sense and the way he manages Goldman Sachs.
Dixon says about Blankfein: 'Known for leading with a terse style that doesn't leave much room for variation from his plan, he manages to stick to a traditional personal style that doesn't leave room for colours outside of neutrals, structured lines, and classic designs and looks.'
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