How hairstyle affects your ability to lead

woman sitting on the salon chair while holding vodka glass and man at her back white spraying her hair
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on

What’s your hairstyle and how does it affect your ability to lead?

There’s almost nothing that can make you feel more vulnerable than getting a new hairstyle and showing up to work. O.k. well, at least getting a “new do” is right up there in the Brené Brown ranks of vulnerability.

In the beauty shop this week, I started to get all in my head about how our hairstyle reflects our personality.

Beyond that, our hairstyle and approach to maintenance, may reflect our leadership style—I pondered.

I’m the type who rarely goes for a haircut. I don’t have a regular beautician to whom I’ve pledged lifelong loyalty. I’ve never scheduled a hair appointment more than a few hours in advance. I also don’t mind getting drastic styles. I’ve cut and colored my own hair. I’m not opposed to letting a friend with a good heart and no experience take scissors to my hair. If I wake up in the mood for something new, cutting my own hair right then and there is often the quickest fix.

The stylist spun me around in the chair and said, “So, what are we doing today?”
“I don’t know, I said. What do you think?”

After a few questions back and forth. She said, “You really don’t want to make this decision, do you?”

I thought, “Isn’t there a reason she is certified to cut and color hair? Can’t she just make a professional recommendation? Shouldn’t she be ecstatic that I’ve given her free reign of my crown? But, for a moment, I felt a bit self-conscious, “Am I just indecisive and incapable of knowing exactly what I want?”

Being a new leader, taking on a new role as a manager, is also up there in the ranks of memorable moments of vulnerability. Like showing up to work with a bob when bobs aren’t really the thing anymore. Or showing up to work with a bowl cut, because you should have insisted on a bit more razor shaping before you left the salon.

What I’ve learned is that every leader has a default leadership style and every leadership style serves a purpose in both the growth and stability of an organization. One wig does not fit all. Also, different cuts for different seasons and a myriad of reasons.

Can you imagine everyone walking around the halls at work with carbon copy hairstyles?

Neither should you expect that every leader will have or should have the same leadership style.

I’ve personally pulled off some impressive leadership feats by keeping an open mind, going with the flow, and resisting the urge to lock in every detail–or schedule regular haircuts. The truth is, ego tells me my leadership style is superior because it gets results—for me. The catch is, my leadership style may not look good on you.

Have you ever had haircut envy and tried a cute cut that looked really flattering on so-in-so, only to discover it didn’t look so hot on you? (Even though most everyone said, “I love your new style!”)

The hairstyle you choose doesn’t affect your ability to lead, but being able to accept your leadership style, will determine the finesse with which you’re able to make a positive difference as a leader.

Don’t forget to schedule your next haircut! Or not.


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