Want to make a major move on improving your perception among peers and those around you in the workplace? It may not require an expensive seminar, executive coach, or college level course. It may be as simple as a few lessons from George Washington.
Author and columnist A.J. Jacobs committed himself to an interesting life challenge. First, he read up on Washington’s collection of the 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation. Then, Jacobs put himself on the track to try to live by those rules.
It’s a strange list in some ways, but there are some very helpful reminders for our day. Especially for those who want to make a better impression on, well, everyone! This list of rules G.W. hand copied from an etiquette book as a young man. It seems they served him well.
First, there was the way George would stand. Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy encourages standing in ways she calls power poses. Leaders should learn the open pose … chest out, shoulders back, and hands on the hips, open to the world. Learning good posture has a big payoff …mentally and physically. George stood tall.
Also, the Father of our Country had a certain kind of walk. It’s now been shown that people who walk with long strides feel happier than whose who shuffle and look at their feet. George had the right stride.
Thirdly, while not on Washington’s list, A.J. Jacobs learned to speak … faster. Again, research now shows that if you talk rapidly, you are more convincing. And you’re more persuasive!
Besides these interesting rules of George Washington, I also like the way he led the nation in a petition to prayer. While we find disagreement over just how spiritual a man George Washington truly was, his proclamations sure appeared to put his faith on the line.
Writer A.J. Jacobs summarized his experiment to live by Washington’s rules in simple fashion: Walk. Talk. Stand. In the Christian life, those line up quite well.
Faith walking means we “walk the walk.” Sharing our faith means we appropriately “talk the talk.” And to stand? Who in this age would not argue that we need to know our beliefs implicitly, and be able to hold our ground in a world where the terra is not so firma?
And here’s some advice from the Bible on selecting people to lead: “… keep a sharp eye out for competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders ...” That would certainly apply to women as well. (Exodus 18:21 / The Message)
If you are seeking to make a bigger impact in the workplace, and wherever you have influence, those three simple words have power …even in this age. Walk. Talk. Stand.
One more rule … practice makes perfect.
That’s the way WE work. For Moody Radio, I’m Mark Elfstrand.