PEACOCK ALERT: What it Means When an Employee Competes to Be "Best Dressed" at Work…

Let's start with a picture.  See below and then come back after the jump...

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That's a picture of 2 employees of the Houston Rockets - Chandler Parsons and James Harden.  They're pro basketball players and they got the memo - you shouldn't be showing up to a post game press conference in normal clothes.  Thus, Parsons with the Russian mafia apprentice club wear, and Harden with the scarf in late April Houston.

But it brings to mind an important question. What's it mean when an employee in your organization suddenly becomes fashion-aware and starts taking chances with his/her wardrobe?  

I'm not talking about stretch pants in the call center or Nirvana-gear.  I'm talking about an otherwise historically standard employee suddenly looking like their trying to win the cover of Esquire or Vogue.

Here's my experience with what the change in dress (up the fashion curve, not down) could mean:

1. High performer is looking to make a move, and to get mentally prepared, they've decided that changing up their wardrobe is the best way to get their game face on;

2. Low performer who can't get love from anyone in the organization, but they consider themselves a player outside of work, so they're bringing their outside game to the office park in a desperate cry for attention; or

3. (Dudes only) Otherwise normal guy who's never really had many girlfriends now has significant other, and she's working at Express, Banana Republic, etc.  She's taken over his life and since there's not a long history of having a significant other, he allows it.

Your task is how to deal with the Peacock.  It's pretty simple, and somewhat Darwinian:

1. High performer - you put up with it, but maybe make sure they're comped right, feeling the love, etc, to limit flight risk.

2. Low performer - goes on performance plan.  It was overdue anyway. The super skinny jeans and the Russian club button up just serves as a strong reminder.

3. Guy who just landed rare or highly dominant girlfriend - you make fun of him without mercy, and see if grows a backbone.  If not, you call him "Boris Nitkin" and explain that's his Leningrad club name.  Find your Russian name here.

You thought Dress Code issues were all about short skirts, the fact your policy still has a panty hose rider in it in 2013, etc.  You were wrong.

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