Daily Archives: January 5, 2015

For Leaders, Looking Healthy Matters More than Looking Smart

Every year around this time, people make resolutions to improve their lives and careers. The most common of these typically involve health-related goals such as quitting smoking or losing weight. The next most common might be career goals like finding a new job or getting a promotion. While we tend to separate out career goals from health/lifestyle goals in our minds, in reality there is a lot of overlap. If you’re looking to set some career goals, then you might think about getting healthier too. New evidence suggests that healthy-looking individuals are perceived as better leaders, even over intelligent-looking people.

The evidence comes from a study led by Brian Spisak at VU University of Amsterdam and published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The study asked participants to judge leadership potential by looking at faces. Why examine our reactions to faces? Because they lead us to make snap judgments about other people. To quote the paper, “Qualities such as facial femininity can have a significant impact on who followers endorse as a leader in different situations because these visual signals can serve as a proxy for latent behavioral potential.” Facial femininity, for example, can signal tendencies to befriend or collaborate. Likewise, perceived age can be used to estimate wisdom or experience. Baby-facedness is often, for better or for worse, associated with trust.

In this particular study, the researchers created a collection of simulated faces based on a composite of three undergraduate volunteers (so that no one would recognize a particular person). Four faces were created, all of them clean-shaven white men who were not wearing glasses or jewelry. The researchers then manipulated those faces to make their “person” appear more or less healthy and more or less intelligent, based on previous research on assumptions based on facial features. The researchers then showed pairs of these faces to 148 participants recruited online. For each pair, participants were given one of four fictional company scenarios and asked to choose the new CEO of the company. The four scenarios outlined the CEO’s primary responsibility, either engaging in an aggressive competition strategy, renegotiating a key partnership agreement with another company, leading a new entry into an unknown market, or supervising the continued exploitation of non-renewable resources.

When the researchers tallied the choices of all the participants, both healthy and intelligent-looking leaders were chosen more often. However, health cues were more clearly influential in choosing a leader than intelligence cues. In 69 percent of choices, participants favored more healthy-looking faces over less healthy-looking faces. The tendency to choose healthy faces was dominant regardless of the scenario presented. “Overall, our findings suggest that although intelligence may be important for leadership in certain circumstances,” the researchers write, “health [.] appears to dominate decision making in all contexts of leadership.” Intelligent looking faces were only preferred over less intelligent looking faces in scenarios that called for diplomacy or original thinking: the renegotiation and the new market scenarios.

The implications of this study are twofold, covering both the organization and the individual. For organizations, the study suggests that a subtle bias may affect leadership succession planning and unnecessarily favor healthy individuals. According to the paper, “a relatively healthy-looking leader may have a better chance of gaining sufficient levels of followership investment to initiate change. On the other hand, a potential leader who looks relatively less healthy may be over-looked even if they are better suited for the job.”

For individuals, the implications are even more straightforward: get healthy.

Spisak suggests, “If you want to be chosen for a leadership position, looking intelligent is an optional extra” only applicable in certain contexts. Looking healthy “appears to be important . across a variety of situations.” The researchers even suggest this is why modern politicians have put such care into their health and appearance.

If you use the New Year to set new resolutions and craft a development plan for hitting those goals, then resist the temptation to focus just on career or health goals or to separate out the two in your mind. Instead, think holistically. If you’re looking to get that promotion, your health matters just as much (if not more) than the experience and knowledge you plan to gain this year.


SL President Polls in Tamil Region to be Under Quraishi Watch


COLOMBO: Dr S Y Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, who is now monitoring the January 8 presidential election, will be keeping an eye on the Northern and Eastern Provinces especially, because these have a sizeable Tamil and Muslim population.

The visit has been necessitated by allegations from opposition parties that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government is planning to deploy the armed forces and officials to rig the elections there because of the critical importance of the Tamil and Muslim vote.

If the minorities vote massively for the Joint Opposition Candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, as they seem inclined to, he will win.

Quraishi told the media here on Sunday, that some opposition parties had complained about the setting up of scores of road blocks in many places in the North. The opposition fears that these road blocks could be used to check the flow of voters to the polling stations.

“When these issues were taken up with the Election Commissioner and the Senior DIG (Elections), they assured us that they will see to it that the election is free and fair. The Election Commissioner seemed supremely confident and the DIG said that he could guarantee a free and fair poll,” Quraishi said.

“Opposition parties told me that so far, it has been largely trouble free. But they were apprehensive about the days to come,” he added.

However, gunshots were fired in the air at a meeting in Polonnaruwa district on Saturday, after opposition candidate, Mathripala Sirisena, had spoken and left. Sirisena alleged that it was an attempt on his life.

He will be visiting Jaffna on Monday and the Eastern Province on Tuesday.

International monitors will be present in every one of the 22 districts of Lanka. However, they will not be able to go wherever they pleased.

The Lankan election commission will decide their itinerary. Given the restrictions, Quraishi said that he would depend a lot on inputs from media persons.

The election will be monitored by over 20,000 persons, including several from Asia countries and the Commonwealth.


Sri Lankan president confident of minority vote


Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday expressed confidence in securing minority Tamil votes at the presidential election, although Sri Lanka’s main Tamil political party, urged the Tamils to back opposition candidate.

Rajapaksa said that the Tamil political party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is not with the government for the election does not mean that the people in the north are not with him, Xinhua reported.

“By now we have laid the foundation to win their votes. We can see the people in the North are gradually getting closer to us. We observed it very clearly when the Yal Devi train began services to Jaffna, capital city of the Northern Province. We have provided facilities to the northern people, which they did not have for the last 30 years, ” Rajapaksa said.

Rajapaksa is seeking third term in office in the upcoming presidential election slated for Jan 8, while the opposition supports former Minister Maithripala Sirisena as the joint opposition candidate.

“The TNA was not interested at all to bring about a political solution. They were waiting for the US, India and Geneva to bring about a solution. Their sole objective is to somehow stay in politics,”said the president.

The final decision on those matters had to be made by parliament, he added.

Rajapaksa said that his government’s main objectives beginning from 2015 are for a more disciplined and law abiding society and a more developed and better country.


Sony hack attack remains a mystery


The cyber attack on Hollywood movie studio Sony Pictures remained a mystery as North Korea on Sunday denied its involvement and lashed out at the United States for refusing a proposed joint investigation and imposing fresh sanctions.

The North Korea’s foreign ministry said Washington’s rejection of the proposal revealed its “guilty conscience”.

As per North Korea’s state run KCNA news agency, the ministry said the US was using the attack to isolate the North in the international community.

“The persistent and unilateral action taken by the White House to slap ‘sanctions’. patently proves that it is still not away from inveterate repugnancy and hostility toward the (North),” the ministry spokesman told the state-run KCNA news agency.

The spokesman also said the new sanctions would further push the North to strengthen its military-first policy known as Songgun.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama’s administration had tightened the noose and slapped sanctions against 10 individuals and three organizations of North Korea allegedly responsible for hacking attack on the Hollywood movie studio.

US investigators had claimed the North was behind the attack in November.

The North has been proposing a joint investigation, which US had ignored.

In November last year Sony Corp was hacked by cyber criminals and embarrassing mails, employee health records, salary records, etc. were made public.

The hackers had also mounted threats against Sony over the planned Christmas release of the comedy film “The Interview,” which depicts a fictional CIA plot to assassinate the North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un.

(With inputs from agencies)

5 Tips To Tackle I0T Linked Security Threats


If you are purchasing an IoT device such as smart wearable device, smart watches or fitness trackers,then you must be aware that the data you would be generating on your IoT device might be susceptible to security threats. Here is how to tackle it…

In a recent report by Symantec named, ‘How safe is your quantified self,’ it was revealed that most of the wearable devices – such as sports activity trackers can be monitored or located by hackers through wireless protocol transmission.The report also highlighted that any of the apps and services within IoT devices can potentially transmit user-generated data – including login credentials through unsecure medium such as the internet, without any attempt to protect it through encryption.This means that the data could be easily intercepted and exploited by an attacker.Depending on the sensitivity of the data held within the IoT devices, the implications for users could range from something as inconsequential as how many glasses of water you drank today to something more serious such as your current location.

On how consumers can tackle such IoT related security challenges Jagdish Mahapatra, managing director for India and SAARC at McAfee, part of Intel Security, shared few basic security measures to implement:

1. Update your software: Smart TVs, gaming consoles and other Internet connected home devices are fresh to the market and because of that many companies are still working out security kinks. When an update is offered, run it. The new version may include patches to close up the recently discovered security holes.

2. Protect with a password: It may sound obvious, but it’s important to continue to use basic security tools such as passwords on your IoT devices. It also helps to frequently update your passwords and use the two-step verification on devices that allow you to do so.

3. Browse with caution: Smart devices aren’t immune to viruses, malware and botnets. When using Internet-connected gaming consoles and televisions, browse the web with caution -don’t click on links from unknown senders and ignore any attempt to lure you with the promise of a deal that seems “too good to be true.”

4. Do your research: Prior to purchasing a new smart device, be sure to investigate the company security policy and ease with which the product can be updated. If you have any doubts about the security of the device,consider contacting the manufacturer for additional clarification.

5. Secure your mobile devices: Smart devices are often controlled by our mobile phones and tablets, so protecting these controllers will help ensure that your smart devices won’t get compromised.


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