The psychology of the workplace through the lens of Oscar night
The Hollywood award season has come to an end. Now we can maybe focus on some world events. I hear there is some of that going on. I caught the live feed of the Oscar Red Carpet where you get to see what occurs and hear the crowd noises without having to sit through television interviews. It is quite interesting to catch such a glimpse of a glamorous event in all its messiness. I have done a couple of red carpet walks for our own fundraising events. You constantly hear “look over here” yet you have no clue where to look as the flashbulbs are blinding. All you can think about, while on the Red Carpet, is how you will pose and position the eyes, hands and legs. Afterwards, way later in the night, you can put away the smile you had plastered onto your face. It actually is a relief to frown and be downcast for a few seconds.
In watching the live feed, I noticed Leo DeCaprio and Kate Hudson standing nervously and rather seriously at the back of the red carpet area. They stood a bit apart from everyone else taking in the scene before them. They paced a bit, tugged at their hair and straightened out their clothes repeatedly. Everyone gets nervous before a big presentation. Celebrities are no different. I always tell my team that it is ok to be nervous. It is actually good to be nervous before a presentation or training event. The sense of nervousness keeps one on one’s toes and in top form. It is way worse to be super confident and then not be able to deliver the goods. Once Leo and Kate were called to start their red carpet procession, the smiles came on and the idle chatter came out of their mouths.
Fashion-wise, I could not help but notice that at times the best outfit accessory was another human being. Case in point, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell looked great together. They were a version of Ken and Barbie after decades of film-making. They really have not been in any films as of late, but together they did shine. Such a coupling helps one realize that at times there is a need for a concerted partnership at workplaces, from the red carpet to offices down on Wall Street, in order to shine brightly. For another case in point in terms of partnerships, you can look to Matthew McCounaghy and his wife Camilla. They hit the Red Carpet as if they were royalty. They balanced each other out in their looks and demeanor. She was sedate and quiet while he was one big ball of energy. She wore a pink dress which I normally would have loved as pink is the new sensation for this die-hard New Yorker. However, I was not thrilled by how draped she was. She is a stunner and should have let her shoulders bear witness to that. One should note that ever since Matthew McCounaghy got married his stature has also elevated in Hollywood with him taking on some meatier rewards and being rewarded with an Oscar for it last night. It is just an observation that being in a good place psychologically at home gave him confidence to take chances at work.
Of course, wardrobe style is a major aspect of the Red Carpet procession. Lupita Nyong’o, a beautiful first-time nominee, showed that simplicity can be breathtaking. Her dress was a light blue that shimmered against her radiant smile. Her happiness overflowed onto the carpet making her appear even more striking. True happiness and humility made her a standout on the red carpet. It is a good lesson to take into the workplace as well. Even if we wear the most standout outfit if our personality comes off as dour or immodest, the beauty of the outfit washes away. Let your inner beauty shine on through and carry you forward. Also, don’t forget to arrange your hair in a sideswept manner. It was all the rage last night on the red carpet from Jessica Biel to Cate Blanchett.
Oops, Jennifer Lawrence did it again. Last year, Jennifer Lawrence fell as she walked up to the stage to accept her Oscar. This year, she fell upon exiting the limousine. She is a bit clumsy but that clumsiness is now part of her charm. Ellen DeGeneres teased her during the live broadcast and Jennifer just laughed it off. Had she won another Oscar, she may or may not have fallen again. We don’t know if she would have fallen as Lupita Nyong’o won for best supporting actress. However, we do know that regardless of whether Jennifer would have fallen she would just get up, laugh with everyone, be slightly mortified and go on to give a heartfelt slightly kooky speech. I can’t help but relate to Jennifer’s clumsiness and resilience. There have been many a times I have “fallen” but dusted myself off and when on with the metaphorical show.
I do not care much for selfies. They seem to indicate one of two things to me: you are lonely (no one around to take the photo) or a bit self-involved. What Oscars host Ellen Degeneres showed is that team selfies may be a good bonding experience amongst A-listers. We all know that A-listers tend to be a bit aloof in their greatness. Yet, a team selfie seemed to bring out great joy amongst the group. Never have seen celebrities, freely act so goofy. The team selfie ended up being the most re-tweeted message yet. Next team meeting, where things are a little tense, go ahead and pose for a silly group selfie. Then project that selfie at future team meetings to remind everyone that things need not always be so serious.
There you have it. The Red Carpet is not that different from the everyday workplace. Yes, the red carpet has million dollar jewelry and haute couture. However, there is also the nerves, the partnerships and the humility that can propel one forward.