Is Your Boss Tall?

Is your boss tall?

Do giants always get the coolest seats in the house?

If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, perhaps the same thought will cross our minds. Perhaps we will both flash back to that first-blissful, later-painful period of unemployment during which you read chapters after chapters of non-fiction.

Perhaps you are as introverted and book-drawn as me and are thinking about that chapter entitled “The Warren Harding Error: Why We Fall for Tall, Dark and Handsome Men”.

Do we still elect presidents because they look like presidents?

Maybe now that you have seen first hand that the mere man-ness of a man rather than the actions, speech and philosophies of a man have granted him the highest pedestal in the globe, you draw a parallel between the present and what you read in the past.

Gladwell talks about the role of our unconscious mind in the decisions we make. Our snap-judgments often aid us, but if left unchecked, they can create impediments.

You actively think about your decisions, you say? What you say is what you actually think, you say? Are you sure?

Maybe you’ve already heard of the Implicit Associations Test (IAT), particularly the Race IAT.

The IAT is designed to test the strength of our mental associations, and to consequently shed light on the disparity between our stated values and our implicit beliefs. Gladwell, my literary crush, the one resource to make myself seem smarter than I am in any given context, talks about it in detail. He talks about taking it several times and finding over and over again that he has a “moderate automatic preference for whites”. He’s half-black, so this makes it all the more alarming. In fact 80% of all the people who have ever taken the Race IAT end up with pro-white associations.

There are many reasons why you and I might find a disconnect between what we openly say and the judgments we make implicitly. The main reason is all that we have been exposed to, all that rhetoric over the years, and the generations’ worth of inheritance in terms of prejudices, opinions, anecdotes — and all of that, reinforced and broadcast by the media openly and subliminally, rudely and acceptably.

Here I ask again.

Is your boss tall?

And another question to ponder over: is it merely chance?

Or is there something under the surface, under all of our surfaces that brings us to the same internal conclusions.

Do we still subliminally feel the need for the hunter-gatherer to lead us?

You think not. Neither do I. If your boss is tall, it’s merely coincidence (if your boss isn’t, then clearly this is all nonsense). But peek, when you have the chance, into the boardroom someday. Peek into the VIP room of a Corporate Accountability Matters conference. Try and Google the men (and the few women) you have been asked to invite to an exclusive event.

Do you feel the need to wear your heels? (Also, when was the last time a woman led in flats?)

Oh, you spot a Bonaparte! One? Two? How many? Let’s form a comfort zone on the right hand side, next to the ladies practicing their power pose ( Is it working? Remember to ask them).

Test it. And then test yourself.

You at the end of the day, as well as everyone else, are the one making all these judgments.

Challenge them, if you find a disparity.

Go on to your corner office, if you don’t.

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