Who is Harvey Specter?
The popular American legal drama show Suits ran for nine seasons, winning many awards and nominations along the way. A great part because of Harvey Specter. The iconic character is a legendary corporate lawyer. He is successful, ultra-confident, a sharp dresser, and witty as he is smart. He wins every case and can deliver some great one-liners. He is the embodiment of the modern debonair gentleman. Today we cover four traits every gentleman can emulate from Harvey Specter.
He Knows the Value of Preparation
One thing that sets Harvey apart from the crowd is his sheer confidence in himself. Confidence emanates from the fact that he knows he is great at what he does. This self-belief is not based on fantasy but on meticulous preparation.
In Episode 9 of the Premier season, Harvey tells Mike, “I need you to dig into Travis Tanner. Find out where he's worked, where he's gone to school, what cases he's won.” Mike asks him “Why? You thinking about starting a Wikipedia page for him?” Harvey responds by telling him, “I don't know anything about how this guy operates. Before I make a move, I need to know everything about how this guy operates...You think the Mavericks didn't watch game film on LeBron before they played the Heat?” To this Mike responds “You're Harvey Specter.” Harvey replies “Do you know who's watched more game film than anybody?” “No. Who?” Mike asks. Harvey replies “Michael Jordan”
And we all know who Michael Jordan is! Also, Harvey went on to defeat Tanner in two different cases. Preparation is vital for success. The difference between being reactive or proactive - is preparation. It will allow you to tackle challenges faster and more efficiently.
Many men have the will to win, but they aren't willing to put in the hard work and time required to become great at something. What makes this even more challenging is that preparation is not a one time thing. You can't prepare to win once and then just let success flow. Great achievers possess the will to prepare to win time and time again.
He has a Solution-oriented Mindset
In the second episode of season one, Harvey asks Mike, his apprentice lawyer, “What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head?”
Mike responds, “What are you talking about? You do what they say or they shoot you.”
Harvey then replies, “Wrong! You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of the hundred and forty-six other things.”
This kind of mentality explains why Harvey is known as ‘the best closer in New York City on the show. What does being a closer mean? It means he gets things done even when odds are stacked up against him.
Yet, some men, when faced with challenges wallow in despair. Don’t be one of them. Instead, be a solution-based thinker. The lesson here is: don’t have only one solution for a challenge and give up after it fails. Have plans B, C, and even D if that’s what it takes. You will not give up. Whatever it takes, you want to make it work.
He Dresses for Success
Harvey Specter has a sense of style. He’s always clean and well-groomed. It doesn’t matter if it’s at work, the gym or home. One of the most outstanding qualities of Harvey is his power suits. When he walks into a room, he exudes authority and people listen—a reminder of what exceptional, well-fitted tailoring can do for a gentleman. The show is, after all, called Suits!
In the first episode, Harvey says: “People respond to how we’re dressed, so like it or not, this is what you have to do.” And he’s right.
A series of studies featured on Nature Human Behavior showed that over 70% of the participants found the well-dressed subjects to be more competent than the poorly dressed ones. Imagine that! Competence judged purely based on clothing. Your appearance is not something you can overlook. Human nature hasn’t changed. People will judge you based on your appearance.
A few pointers on how you can dress for success
- Gentlemen who wear suits need suits in at least three shades. A solid black or dark navy suit. The colors of the next two suits depend on your age, skin color, eye color, hair color, and the look you are going for.
- Decide how you want to be perceived and dress for that. Dress in a way that fits you and your brand. Yet, this is not an excuse to be sloppy.
- Take care of minor things. If you are going for a meeting, get a shave. Use a good but not overpowering cologne. A watch is a must and if you want more accessories, limit them to one or two.
He is Loyal
In season four episode 13, Harvey’s conversation with the CEO of McKernon Motors shows how much he values loyalty.
“You're also traveling a little light. Where's your PowerPoint presentation?” Mr. Mckernon asks Harvey when he walks into his office. Harvey responds, “I don't need a PowerPoint presentation.” “Why’s that?” Mr. McKernon interjects. Harvey replies, “Because every lawyer in the city has tried to dazzle you...they don't know what you're looking for.” Mr. McKernon then asks him, “What am I looking for?” To which Harvey responds “Loyalty.”
Harvey points out how Mr. McKernon has been loyal to his employees and has never fired any of them, even in tough times. That’s why they are all still with him. From this Harvey says he has realized Mr. McKernon needs a loyal lawyer who will not dump him for a bigger client. As a result, Harvey is hired. Soon his loyalty is tested when he’s told to drop McKernon Motors, but Harvey proves his loyalty when he refuses.
He may appear self-centered but Harvey is fiercely loyal to his friends and never shies away from putting himself in the line of fire to defend them. He portrays this quality multiple times over the lifetime of the TV show.
The fact that some acts of loyalty are immoral or even unlawful does not disqualify loyalty as a general virtue. Loyalty is a trait every gentleman should nurture. Both in their business and personal lives. Then the question is, what is loyalty? And our answer is, “it’s hard to define loyalty, but very easy to recognize it.”
Though a TV show character, Harvey Specter is in many ways the embodiment of the modern gentleman. Every gentleman aspires to be the best version of themselves. Harvey Specter is not perfect. He has his faults. But that shouldn’t take away from his positive character traits, which every gentleman should emulate.
- Be prepared
- Be solution-oriented
- Dress for success
- Be loyal