Heera Training & Management Consultants

eNewsletter March 2010


Hi! And how are you all? It was a hectic February what with work, Chinese New Year and a short holiday in India all thrown in. Chinese New Year was as always great. The New Year eve dinner has a lot of meaning for me and the giving of ang pows made it a little bit more special. The short holiday in India was also great as I got a chance to meet up with some very special friends whom I have not met in over thirty years. It was a wonderful reunion and brought back lots and lots of great memories. All in all a great month.

Question – Why are good looking people always thought to have favorable traits such as talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence? Why does research prove that better looking people have better careers as compared to their not so good looking counterparts

The Halo/Horns Effect

The answer is in this phenomenon called ‘the halo effect’. It is a phenomenon where one trait or characteristic in a person for example, attractiveness, tends to ‘deceive’ us into thinking that because this person is attractive, they must also be more intelligent, kinder, more generous etc. For example, a study of the 2009 American elections revealed that many people voted for Barrack Obama as he was ‘more attractive’ as compared to Senator John MCcain. His ‘attractiveness’ evoked emotions in people that he was ‘better’, could be ‘trusted more’ and would make a ‘better’ president. In a sense, our rationality goes out the window, just because of the psychological effect of one characteristic or trait. At the workplace the halo effect can translate into some of these possible actions by a superior:

· Failing to see deteriorating performance because of a good past record or personal friendship.
· Rewarding those who have similar beliefs or background.
· Believing that, because performance is outstanding in one area, there are no problems in other areas.
· Thinking that a person is ‘better’ only because he graduated from a foreign University.
· Inability to see the negative side of an employee irrespective of what he or she does. Even when seen or proven, it will be justified or explained away.
· Thinking that a candidate is the ‘right’ person for the job just because he is well-dressed, arrives punctually and is smart in appearance and friendly.

The halo effect is neither good nor bad. It is an emotional phenomenon which we must be conscious of. Otherwise its influence can mar our perceptions and influence our logical and rational process of thought. Awareness of this effect will also assist in reducing inaccurate perceptions and ensure rational decision-making.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I do hope I have in a small way, improved your management knowledge. Till my April newsletter, have a great month ahead and do take care.