Why Having a Babyface Helps Black Leaders in the Workplace [Research Breakdown]

One of the things that we know is that in order to make it to the top of an organisation, the way you look matters. The evidence says that some of the superficial things count. This matters more if you’re female, disabled or from a minority group of any description.

Today, I’m going to be talking about some interesting research that shows that members of minority groups benefit from the use of disarming mechanisms when trying to make it to the top. This study shows that having a baby face is useful for employees who want to make it the C Suite if you come from a stigmatised group

In todays show I discuss several things including:

  • The reason why having a babyface helps black leaders in the workplace
  • The bias that means traditional leadership advice may not be effective for minority groups
  • The reason your employee resource groups need to develop specific relevant strategies if they want to create leaders and much much more

Here’s some of what I share in the show:

Having a “BabyFace” can benefit some leaders

I describe how research has shown that having a Babyface can be useful for aspiring leaders from stigmatised groups:

 “Having a babyface can have a positive impact on your leadership aspirations… if you are a member of stigmatised group”

 The Research presents novel findings that appear to contradict the norm

I explain how having a “babyface” is normally seen as a potentially undesirable feature of leaders:

 “Babyfaced adults can be perceived to be incompetent or weak and research shows that it’s actually a liability for those in high positions of leadership”

 Disarming Mechanisms Only Work on Particular Groups

I explain how disarming mechanisms are not a universal solution to a problem, they may only work on particular groups of people:

“This draws out an interesting point, disarming mechanisms are likely to work if you belong to a group that is considered to be a threat or intimidating.”

Here are some selected links to for the resources and reports I discuss in the episode.

Show Notes

Professor Robert Livingston

Dr Nicholas Pearce

My Award Winning Poster

Does Beauty Really Pay?

The Teddy-Bear Effect: Does Having a Baby Face Benefit Black Chief Executive Officers?

Click here to tell me the 3 things you want me to cover on this podcast

The Elements of Inclusion #4

Leaders must collaborate innovatively to leverage cultural expertise and drive business performance.

  • Why inclusive outcomes are driven by innovation
  • How developing a business case for diversity and inclusion specific to your organisation is a competitive advantage
  • Why novelty is at the heart of your inclusion journey

The Elements of Inclusion #3

Leaders must establish systems to ensure that everyone shares the same advantages and benefits. These processes will create incentives for inclusive behaviours.

  • How to augment your team with the tools and insights they need to prevent structural disadvantage
  • Why reinforcing generative norms ensures everyone belongs in the organisation
  • How inclusive representations can be embedded to promote an inclusive culture

The Elements of Inclusion #2

Leaders must redefine career development relationships to support inclusive performance.
  • Why traditional mentor relationships must be revised for an inclusive workplace
  • How leaders must embrace networks of developmental relationships for individual growth
  • Why established workplace norms must evolve for inclusion in the modern workplace

The Elements of Inclusion #1

Leaders must properly socialise people and socialise inclusive ideas by providing an environment for the cultural learning needed for an active role in an inclusive organisation

  • How your socialisation processes must evolve to encourage the sustainable cultivation of inclusive competencies
  • Why Leaders must consistently negotiate the line between organisational commitment and personal authenticity to promote performance
  • How developing intersectional self awareness can help leaders to leverage individual employee experiences