|A suit. But is it a suit?|
First of all, what does it really mean to be a "suit?" In my mind, it means that people don't take you seriously, they view you as being ineffectual, stuffy, and with nothing to offer except vague managerial buzz words and cliches, with perhaps a sprinkling of references to various organizational policies. A suit is not a welcome figure. When a suit walks into the room, people immediately feel less positive about the situation. A suit cannot relate to people, despite any attempts to come across as casual, down-to-earth, or easy going. People don't want to associate with suits, or listen to suits, or have anything to do with suits. In short, suits are not welcome.
Suits are always associated with "management." For example, in any modern company you probably will have some group, large or small, of computer programmers. The guys who go out for lunch together all the time, tell nerd jokes to each other, are knowledgeable about internet trends, and have fairly specialized skills. This group of programmers will be managed by someone, and in many cases, that someone will be a suit. The guy who thinks he's in charge, who tells them what they're not allowed to do, who tries to impose order and rules, and who will never fit in with the guys, no matter how much or how little he realizes it. The programmers look upon the suit with scorn, and either joke about him behind his back or simply take the route of pretending he isn't there.
|Probably a suit|
In contrast, a true suit-wearing professional is confident and respected. People feel good about what he says to them, even if they don't necessarily agree with it. People trust this type of professional, and want to be associated with him. He is welcome on the team, and has influence. He makes the workplace better. He has style, even if he doesn't have fashion. He is comfortable in his own skin, and strikes the right balance between following established methods while not being a robot. Unlike a "suit," a true suit-wearing professional does not think too much about the fact that he is wearing a suit.
|Perhaps a suit|
So, in pondering this question of how to both wear a suit to work and be effective in my role, I thought it would make sense to think of examples of people who have achieved this feat before. Who wears a suit, but truly makes things better, is trusted, and people are happy to see them? Then it hit me: Maybe the suit really does need to be my focus...
|Just a suit. But what a suit!|