What role does physicality take in human social status? This takes me back to my own research paper on ‘mate preferences and optimal speed dating tactics’. I have always been intrigued since a former CEO told me a story about a competitor who only hired ex-college athletes. Why does Putin always appear to show his physicality? Perhaps the ‘Office Linebacker’ is a real thing!
A study by Lukaszewski asked participants whether photos of individuals would make good candidates for leadership roles within a consultancy firm. Consistently stronger looking men were rated with higher social and leadership qualities. Interestingly, variations in women's stature made little difference.
Whilst this is compelling I have observed that successful leaders incorporate activity into their lifestyle. This sets a good example to the team and can also bring people together whilst encouraging team work.
Lukaszewski who carried out the study does caveat his research to any leader looking to push people around. “Self-interested aggressiveness decreased men’s projected status”. Do you know anyone like this?
Why are physically formidable men willingly allocated higher social status by others in cooperative groups? Ancestrally, physically formidable males would have been differentially equipped to generate benefits for groups by providing leadership services of within-group enforcement (e.g., implementing punishment of free riders) and between-group representation (e.g., negotiating with other coalitions). Therefore, we hypothesize that adaptations for social status allocation are designed to interpret men's physical formidability as a cue to these leadership abilities, and to allocate greater status to formidable men on this basis.