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Lead Your Team Personal Growth

Stand Tall: Your Posture Could Make You More Powerful

Your mother always told you to stand up straight. It turns out she knew what she was talking about.

According to new research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, posture plays an important role in determining whether people act as though they are really in charge . The research finds that “posture expansiveness,” or positioning oneself in a way that opens up the body and takes up space, activates a sense of power that produces behavioral changes in a person independent of their actual rank or hierarchical role in an organization.

This new research found that good posture had a strong effect in making a person think and act in a more powerful way. In an interview situation, for example, an interviewee’s posture will not only convey confidence and leadership, but also allows the person to think and act more powerfully.

According to Kellogg School of Management professor Adam Galinsky, who conducted the research, the role of powerful posture is important for those seeking new jobs in 2011.

“With 1.9 million new jobs on the horizon this year, our research suggests that your posture may be quite literally the way to put your best foot forward in a job interview,” said Galinsky.

The paper is titled “Powerful Postures Versus Powerful Roles: Which Is the Proximate Correlate of Thought and Behavior?” and appears in the January issue of Psychological Science.