What’s the first thing people do when they sit down in a meeting? Especially a meeting with people they don’t know — they size up the room. They look for clues as to who is the alpha male or alpha female. We all intuitively try to figure out “Who’s in charge?” and “What is the pecking order?” This behavior is so ingrained in our DNA that we often don’t even realize we are judging social standing and prestige.
Merriam-Webster defines prestige as the standing or estimation in the eyes of people : weight or credit in general opinion. Sociologists provide further expand this definition to four dimensions. Social prestige is the sum total of the respect, honor, recognition or courtesy that an individual receives from other members of society or the group to which they belong. For example dons, Mafia bosses are well respected within the Mafia but overall society considers them criminals, not worthy of social prestige.
So if you want prestige, understand the group and company in which you find yourself, and work to be at its center; progress will be recognized through the respect, honor, recognition and the courtesy you receive.
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