‘Managing image key to success’

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Founder and Director of Image Evolution Lesotho Moratuoa Lebesa Hlongwa
Founder and Director of Image Evolution Lesotho Moratuoa Lebesa Hlongwa

Rethabile Pitso

HAVING the right image is a critical success factor for professionals who set their sights on climbing the career and business “ladder”.

According to Image Evolution Lesotho founder and Director, Moratuoa Lebesa Hlongwa, Basotho from all walks of life could benefit immensely by actively evaluating and fully utilising their personal resources.

She said the resources at every person’s disposal were different image elements needed to achieve various goals in personal, professional, and social life. These image elements include clothing, grooming, body language, etiquette and vocal communication among others.

Ms Hlongwa, who is also a chartered accountant and athlete, said image management was about making optimum use of all the aforementioned resources.

“Image not only encompasses external appearance, but also involves behaviour. Applying elements such as time-management and mannerisms like putting away phones during meetings are some of the basic actions that can positively impact on a person’s image,” she said.

Image Evolution Lesotho’s clients includes various companies and agencies such as Maluti Mountain Brewery, Matekane Group of Companies, Central Bank of Lesotho and the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s One-Stop Business Facilitation Centre.

Ms Hlongwa said many Basotho were not aware of the importance of time management.

“Keeping people waiting at a meeting in which you are supposed to make a presentation, for example, puts off your audience. Ultimately, they won’t listen to what you have to say,” she said.

“Many people wonder why Africa in general and Lesotho in particular are lagging behind economically from the rest of the world. The answers could lie in the most basic aspects such as time-management.

“People in leadership positions need to be time conscious to encourage their subordinates to follow suit. Only then can we experience a paradigm shift.”

Ms Hlongwa also said basic wardrobe planning was essential to give a good impression.

“My company is currently focusing on what we call wardrobe planning, which encourages people to maximise the clothes they already have, instead of making unnecessary expenditure,” she said.

“Wardrobe planning not only has psychological benefits, but it is also cost-effective. Unnecessary expenditure not only saps a person’s self-esteem but can leave them in debt.”

On the negative consequences of being a shopaholic, Ms Hlongwa said she spoke from experience.

“Since I am a chartered accountant, the expectation would be I am good with managing money. However, I used to spend my salary recklessly.

“Before studying image consultancy, I had a long list of accolades; chartered accountant, ultra-marathon runner, former head of internal audit . . . the list is endless. I was earning approximately M30 000, but I would spend it as if it was M30.”

She said image management elements were also applicable to unemployed youths who were financially constrained.

“Job-seeking youths need to apply image management elements to attain their goals. Many young people are conscious of the need to wear the appropriate attire for a soccer match for example. But when it comes to finding advancement opportunities they don’t apply themselves in making preparations,” said Ms Hlongwa.

“There are many opportunities not being exploited by young people with access to the internet through their mobile devices. They can also establish connections with resourceful people in their communities.”

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