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Lead Your Team Leadership

Want to Look Like a Leader? Get Some Gadgets

Want to Look Like a Leader? Get Some Gadgets
Workers who use new technology are perceived as leaders. / Credit: Smart phone image via Shutterstock

Always using the latest high-tech gadget is one way to boost your image at work, new research suggests.

Indeed, business professionals who want to be perceived as leaders should be investing in the latest technology breakthroughs, according to a study published recently in The Journal of Product Innovation Management.

"Familiarity with and usage of new high-tech products appears to be a common manifestation of innovative behavior," the study's authors wrote. "Those who are tech-savvy are also perceived as authoritative on other subjects and as leaders." [Are Your Leadership Skills Outdated? 4 Modern Workplace Challenges]

As part of the study, the researchers taped interviews with actors who were categorized by their appearance and other factors. In one scene, the actors were taped as they wrote down a note using an old-fashioned calendar, and in the other, they took down a note on an electronic calendar.

The researchers found that when test subjects watched the interviews, they overwhelmingly viewed the actors using the electronic calendars as more authoritative.

In another experiment, researchers asked participants to read resumes that were all similar, except for hobbies, which were varied to signal whether the subjects were "high-tech" or not. Again, the high-tech candidates came out ahead.

The researchers also found that women who used technological gadgets benefited more than their male counterparts.

"This finding runs counter to the backlash effect typically found in impression management research in business settings," the researchers wrote. "Female job evaluations typically suffer after engaging in the same self-promoting impression management strategies that benefit their male counterparts."

However, the actual ability to operate high-tech devices wasn't that important, as long as the person looked reasonably competent, said Steve Hoeffler, associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University and one of the study's authors.

"Just possession is 90 percent of the game," he said. "And there are maybe 10 percent of situations where you have to display ability to use it."

The study was co-authored by Stacy Wood, a professor of marketing at North Carolina State University.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.