‘Power Posing’ and the hormone profiles of leaders [research studies]

Back in 2010, a seminal ‘Power Posing’ study from Columbia University and Harvard University in the US revealed :

“That a person can, by assuming two simple 1-min poses, embody power and instantly become more powerful has real-world, actionable implications.”

The research team found that ‘Power Posing’ not only had effects on observers of the poses, but also that the poser’s own hormone balances were changed in the process.

See Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance  (Psychological Science 21(10) 1363 –1368).

Looked at from a reverse perspective, might this imply that there could be an optimal hormonal profile for ‘leaders’? Those who wish to further their studies of social neuroendocrinology from a leadership perspective might consult the findings of the NeuroLeadership Insitiute. Here is an example paper* from their NeuroLeadership Journal which reveals :

‘An Ideal Hormone Profile for Leadership’

“Characteristics like respect from peers, resilience, ability to inspire confidence and loyalty, capacity to make tough decisions, and the general attribute of being perceived as a leader can seem like elusive qualities. It turns out that these all can be influenced by a leader’s neuroendocrine systems (e.g. testosterone, cortisol, and oxytocin). Social neuroendocrinology—the study of hormone systems in social contexts—is showing a) that there might be an optimal hormonal profile for leadership, and b) that a person can influence her or his own hormonal profile in the short and long term. These findings hold across gender, type of organization (e.g. sports teams, business), and types of leadership challenges (e.g. negotiation, competition, cooperation).”

Bonus Assignment [optional] If leaders have an optimal hormone profile, would hormone-testing reveal their suitability (or otherwise) for their roles?

*Note: The full paper is only available to members, and the institute is “no longer renewing or accepting new Individual Memberships”.

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