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Looking Good

Today, looks matter more than ever in our society. Are you and your staff facing the facts?

The saying "beauty sells" has never rung more true than it does today: Beautiful people dominate the media, and plastic surgery is on the rise. Gordon Patzer, founder of the Appearance Research Institute and author of Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined, agrees and sees a society obsessed with good looks.

How does this translate into the business world? Research shows that attractive people are more likely to get hired, paid larger salaries and promoted more than their "unattractive" peers. As a leader, make sure you're cognizant of this, says Patzer, and are basing evaluations on performance. However, as distasteful as it sounds, attractive people "are probably more confident, so they're probably going to be more successful; thus, they probably should earn a bigger salary," he explains. If the "controllable" aspects of an employee's looks, like hygiene or dress, are hindering work, Patzer says it's OK to address that--as long as it's done tactfully.

In addition, you should strive to look your best. People are more willing to work with, work harder for and be influenced by an attractive person, says Patzer. "Whatever you can do--within reason--to enhance your physical attractiveness, you're going to be more successful."

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This article was originally published in the May 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Looking Good.

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