Why the best leaders have crooked faces

People with a high degree of left-right body symmetry, are not just considered better looking but also tend to be healthier, more intelligent and more dominant than others. They’re the classic alphas who rise to the top of hierarchical organisations such as the military.

But research by a team led by Chartered Psychologist Dr Carl Senior from Aston University suggests that people with subtle asymmetries - for example, imbalances in ear or finger length - are often better “transformational” leaders, able to inspire followers to put self-interest aside for the good of the group. The teams they lead outperform those led by people with more symmetrical bodies.

Dr Senior told the Daily Telegraph: "Symmetrical people are considered to have a better standard of life, they are considered to be more intelligent - a lot of positive social traits are attributed to symmetrical looking people.

"When symmetrical people are growing up in the playground, everyone views them in a positive light. If you are a symmetrical-looking man you appear a more dominant, attractive individual so society assumes that to be the case.

"The asymmetrical group has to develop more positive social skills to compensate for these perceived shortcomings."

The research is published in the Harvard Business Review and the authors are Dr Carl Senior and Professor Robin Martin from Aston University, Professer Michael West from the University of Lancaster and Rowena Yeats from the University of Birmingham.