Standing With Authority

Henry the VIII had a problem.

 

 

He was old, with a leg ulcer that wouldn’t heal and smelled like rotten meat.

 

 

He was enormously fat too, barely getting around and the the word was, he was unfit to be king.

 

 

What to do?

 

 

Instagram a selfie in which he projected the power and authority of a king.

 

 

What’s the best body language when you want to present yourself with authority?

 

 

Standing straight, shoulders back, feet forward, hands on your hips, looking directly at the person.

 

 

It’s called the “Holbein Pose” after the artist who painted Henry the VIII standing that way in 1537.  The portrait made the rounds across the kingdom and sent a message of power and prestige—and probably saving him from assasination.

 

 

 

When dealing with your boss or a negotiating partner, you want to do the same thing—even if you’re socialized not to

 

 

 

Want to tone it down a bit?  Take your hands off your hips.  Keep your thumbs pointed forward.

 

 

 

Consultants will tell you that power postures are gender specific. That women who stand with power are perceived negatively by all genders compared to men standing the same way.

 

 

 

It’s certainly a mixed bad for women, but on the whole “more assertive” is much better than “less assertive”—especially when dealing with people who think they can push you around.