Why I wear a tie to work everyday!

Somewhere around the turn from 2011 to 2012, I had a slight epiphany.  Kevin and I had decided that we had too many ties in our closet to only wear them when we were wearing suits.  He had a good excuse, he went to a Catholic High School requiring ties.  I guess I am just hard to buy for when Christmas comes around.  What started as a little bit of a joke and we called it Tuesday/Thursday Tie Day turned into a daily routine for me.  That wasn’t because I had too many ties (I had to go buy some more), rather, I realized that I was sending the wrong message.

You don’t see people in the office wearing ties anymore, especially in Manufacturing.  I realized that I would often throw a jacket and tie on when I was meeting with external customers, but you could find me in a polo or open collar shirt any other time.  What kind of message was I sending to all of my internal customers?  They weren’t good enough me to put a little more effort into how I looked?  I figured it was about time to rectify that and decided I would wear a tie everyday (almost).

There are some problems with my methodology, which I will admit.  First, I don’t have the discretionary funds to buy a bunch of sport coats and suits, so I often look like the kid at Blockbuster selling videos in his baggy shirt and tie.  I hope it isn’t so much the “look”, rather the “effort” that is recognized.  Also, it is a safety risk.  I am around moving machinery often when I am out on the floor.  Most times, I will temporarily take the tie off if I am out there.  Finally, it serves absolutely no purpose other than decorative, which really drives me nuts.  If I could define “waste” in clothing, the necktie would be it.  To combat this and make myself feel better, I occasionally wipe smudges off of my safety glasses with the back of my tie, which I find is a great solution.

So there you have it, that is why you’ll find me in a tie most days when you walk into the office.  It is really about sending a clear message to both internal and external customers that they are worth dressing up for.  I am keenly aware that how I am perceived is directly linked to how I can motivate and lead, so I try not to make it an afterthought.  What kind of non-verbal messages are you sending?