I kid you not.  Straight from Harvard Business Review. A study at Aston University has shown that highly aysmmetrical people “had greater self-reported leadership abilities – aptitudes for considering others’ feelings, recognising others’ needs, and inspiring others.  The more aysymmetrical the leader, the better the team’s performance, according to independent assessments.”  Measure the ear lbes, check for asymmetry, and there you have your leadership profile.  Wrist width and finger lengths should also be checked in this way, would you believe?

“How on earth can this be?”, I hear you say.  Well, the research team posits an interesting theory on this.  “People born with asymmetries tend to develop greater empathy, social intelligence and motivational skills as a way of overcoming perceptions that they’re unattractive or unintelligent.”  It’s in the Harvard Business Review, folks, so it must be right.

And that’s not all.  Apparently this is not the first time this theory has been suggested.  A recent twins study at Imperial College, London, indicates that “49% of transformational leadership qualities are genetic.”

Let me see if I get this:  if you have perfect left-right body symmetry you are considered better looking, and (again according to the article) are more likely to be healthy, intelligent and dominant.  And if you don’t, you make up for it by being more empathetic and socially intelligent.

How very useful!  So now we can ditch those sophisticated leadership aptitude profiles and competency based interviewing techniques, and do something much more straightforward.  Stick in one of those new airport security scanners which can no doubt be set up to measure peoples’ symmetry,and see how perfectly their left side matches their right side.  We can ask the researchers to tell us what the scoring system needs to be:  how much weighting to put on a lopsided face versus a lopsided midriff, and much much more.  In fact we wouldn’t need an interview process at all: you could just send in your score.  “New CEO required;  must have a body symmetry score of 80% or more.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, only has a score of 69% apparently, so there may be hope for us all yet.  Charles Schwab got 84%.  Ah, that explains it.

I’m teasing, of course.  It does make you wonder, doesn’t it?  Is this simply research gone mad, proving only that you can make research tell you whatever you want it to, or could there be something in it?  They must have some evidence, as in all seriousness I doubt HBR would be publishing pure baloney.  I’ll let you work out what is means for you and whether it explains anything.  Interested to hear from you either way.

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