Did you know that tall men are likely to advance faster in their careers? It’s a subconscious bias that probably dates back to the days when humankind had to fight tooth and nail for survival. Perhaps taller men would have been better able to execute tasks like throwing a spear, or their height might have been an outcome of better overall health in a time when poor nutrition and illness was a common limiting factor that prevented many people from reaching the height determined by their genetics.

Throwback to an ancient past or not, people generally see tall men as having more leadership potential. That means a better chance at management positions, better career advancement, and higher earnings. Naturally, all this sounds very unfair, so how can you buck the system?

Add Inches to Your Height

The most obvious solution is to acquire a more commanding presence by adding to your height. Nice lift shoes that give no clue as to their “little secret” do exist, and they’re smart and comfy enough to wear throughout the workday. Given that certain authors have claimed that every inch of height translates into a career advantage, just a little boost could go a long way. If you’ve been made to feel self-conscious about your height, the confidence booster will already help you to feel better and create a better overall impression. But do remember that height isn’t everything!

Clothing to Make You Look Taller

Clothing choices can create an illusion of being taller than you are. Vertical stripes, for example, “stretch” the visual impression of your height while high-rise pants and tucked in shirts make your legs appear longer. If you wear accessories, wear them high on your body to draw attention to your torso and wear short jackets rather than longer ones. Choose close-fitting monochrome outfits in dark colors to add to the illusion. You’ll appear slimmer too!

Another tip to try is to shift the waistline button of your jacket up a little to make your body seem more elongated. Check out your pants legs: you don’t want any folding or bagging around the ankles. A crisp fit at ankle height not only looks neat, but adds to the way people perceive your height.

Have a “Big” Personality

Have you ever noticed that there are tall men who seem to be smaller than they are until you’re standing right beside them? It can work the other way around too. Being outgoing and having self-confidence could literally make you seem “larger than life.”

Don’t overdo it. Overcompensating can lead you to be labelled as having “short guy syndrome,” a stereotype that says short men are overly aggressive. Just stay positive and enjoy being sociable. Share ideas, be self-possessed, and have empathy for others. Even if people don’t see you as being physically taller, they’ll acknowledge you for your pleasant personality, and that has advantages all of its own.

Good Posture Makes a Difference

The way you sit, stand, and walk will affect how tall you appear. An upright posture, as opposed to a stooped or slouched one, will help you to make the most of your natural height. Simply standing up straight could increase your height by as much as two inches. That’s a significant difference!

Apart from that, good posture makes you appear alert, confident, and self-possessed – all things that we like to see in people in leadership. If you’ve tried improving your posture and still tend to slouch, consider working out with a personal trainer and tell them what your goal is. Chiropractors also say that they can help people to improve their posture, so you may decide to visit one even if you don’t have any aches or pains for them to treat.

Reject Negative Self-Talk About Your Height

Shorter people often have a hard time during their school years. They aren’t seen as being good at sport, girls prefer their taller counterparts, and there’s outright bullying and name-calling. Needless to say this can have a very negative impact on your self-confidence, leading you to feel less confident and predisposing you to see discrimination as an insurmountable obstacle.

Self-confidence begins with how you see yourself. Recognize the fact that you have value. You can be strong, smart, and authoritative, and you can do well in life as long as you don’t let negative feelings from both yourself and others get you down. Your stature as a person has much more to do with who you are than it does with your physical height.

Building your confidence not only helps you to feel more positive, it helps others to feel more positive about you!

Merit Still Matters Most

If you’re a man who feels somewhat lacking in the height department and are worried about how it may affect your career, relax! Merit is still the most important factor in career advancement. Being brilliant at what you do will ensure that you get noticed and will help you to climb the ladder faster than other people – regardless of their height. Need evidence? US presidents prove the point. While JFK was certainly a tall man, James Madison measured 5ft4 in his bare feet.

You can still leverage our tips for looking taller, especially when you’re in situations where you’re making a first impression – but the advantages that tall people enjoy are subtle and can be overcome through excellence. Height is a subconscious advantage, but if conscious thought and real-world performance shows that you’re the best leader to choose, you’ll still win the day.

Looking for More Inspiration?

If you’d like to read more about how height bias affects men and what you can do to overcome it, read “Amazing Heights” by Seth Ulinski. He’s a powerhouse of inspiration for shorter men. He recognizes that people are hard-wired to equate height with positive attributes, and has written a self-help book about his journey towards self-acceptance and material success.

As he points out, some of the world’s richest men, including Jeff Bezos, fall within the height range that would be regarded as “short.” Nevertheless, they have proved that making it to the top isn’t exclusively for tall men, and making the most of your abilities is the real key to success.