I hope you don't think you are going out looking like that!

My mother said to me many times, ” I hope you don’t think you’re going out looking like that!”Yes.  Mothers say this all of the time, and dads say it too, especially if they have a daughter.  I have learned that usually it is just better to let it go with teenagers, and don’t worry about their hairstyles too much unless they work for you and it violates your grooming policy.  Teenagers usually become normal again later on in life, and you will be proud to introduce them to relatives, work associates, and friends once again some day. Teenagers think adults wear some weird stuff as well, I assure you, and probably think our hairstyles are weird too.

For sure, most of us did something in this department when we were young.  At least we did something that worried our parents.  The exception that I personally would not permit is to let young ones wear provocative garments; but, right now, that is your problem and not mine.

What is your problem is to make sure that we as a leaders you have established a professional grooming guideline and are enforcing it. The way your team looks has a lot to do with your organizations reputation. 

The point is:  we can all do what we want when we are off duty, but it is our responsibility to monitor and enforce the grooming guidelines in our organizations.    I recall telling Cast Members at Disney that we are famous worldwide for being a place that is “magical,” and not like the real world, and that is because we are the largest, longest-running hit show in the world.  We have stories to tell.  We have roles in the show.  We wear costumes, and we have The Disney Look grooming guidelines, which are part of the show.  So as my mother would say, “don’t think you are going out looking like that.”  

PS:  When I was a young manager at Marriott, J. Willard Marriott , the founder of the company came up to me and looked at my name tag and said, “Cockerell, are you the manager here?”  I said, “Yes, Sir”; and he said, “Why don’t you get a haircut and look like it?”

When my near heart attack was over, I went and got a haircut; and that was the last time I had the 1970’s shaggy-hair-covering-my-ears look.  For a moment that day, I had flashbacks of my mother; and I guess that was because Mr. Marriott was managing like a mother . . . and he was right, as mothers usually are. 

While fads are fun when you are young, be careful with being too odd if you are trying to build a career. No one may ever tell you why you were passed over for a promotion or other opportunities. Take a look at the successful people in your organization and then take a look at yourself. There is a reason that the mirror was invented…..Lee

1 Comment
  1. This is key information. While this may not be politically correct, looks do matter. I’m an MBA student at Texas A&M (Class of 2010), and one of the topics during orientation covered etiquette. One of the things that we learned is that a person may have deep skills and experience, but if he or she violates social norms then serious limitations can be placed on career advancement. This is the reality of the professional world.

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