Does power posing make you a better leader?

Power posing. Most of us can probably recall a time we’ve stood in front of a mirror and contorted our bodies to some pose as a last-ditch effort to pump ourselves up before an important meeting, job interview or first date. Whether or not you believe in the effect of the power pose, it turns out these stances actually contribute to our ability to demonstrate leadership behaviors.

Amy Cuddy’s work on power posing and presence garnered international attention [1], as she demonstrated the power poses’ connection to building confidence and, ultimately, presence in everyday people [2]. Cuddy defines presence as “the state of being attuned to and able to comfortably express our true thoughts, feelings, values, and potential,” and that it “emerges when we feel personally powerful,” [3]. Simply put, personal presence is driven by feeling powerful or confident—and the more present we feel, the more comfortable we feel.

So how does this tie to becoming a better leader?

Cuddy finds that—because leaders are evaluated by their authenticity (can they be trusted?), believability (are they telling the truth?) and genuineness (do they believe what they’re saying?)—by increasing our personal presence alone, we can increase our demonstration of those key characteristics that followers look for in leaders. [3] When we feel powerful, we act more naturally and comfortably, and others more readily follow us. (Certainly, there is much to be noted here for displaying the competence and integrity to effectively lead others, but that is a commentary for another day).

The next time you need to boost your confidence and presence, try holding one of the following power poses for 10 seconds:

  1. Practice your best superhero pose (likely a wide stance, with one fist in the air and one hand on your hip);
  2. Imagine yourself winning a gold medal with your arms up in the air, victorious; or
  3. Adopt a wider, steadier stance with your hands on our hips.

For more insight into the effects of power posing on leadership and presence, check out the references below.

[1] TIME. (23 March 2012). Amy Cuddy, Power Poser [Episode 2]. Game Changers. Video retrieved from

[2] Cuddy, A. J. C., Schultz, S. J., & Fosse, N. E. (April 01, 2018). P-Curving a More Comprehensive Body of Research on Postural Feedback Reveals Clear Evidential Value for Power-Posing Effects: Reply to Simmons and Simonsohn (2017). Psychological Science, 29, 4, 656-666.

[3] Cuddy, A. J. C. (2015). Presence: Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.



Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.