Leadership & Personal Development Series
What is perception?
Perception is essentially how one sees, thinks, or understands another person or situation from their own point of view based on interaction with or observation of a specific person or situation.
Why perception is such an important part of a leadership and personal development?
Have you ever met someone for the very first time and after speaking with that person as well as observing how he or she acts around you and other people, you had created your own personality and behavior profile of this person in your mind? That is exactly how perception is created, whether it is accurate or inaccurate.
The reason why it is so important to make sure other people have accurate perception of you is, because, you want for your actual personality traits to be known and understood, as well as your true intentions to be taken into account when important business or promotional decisions are being made and based on facts versus inaccurate perception that other people may have about you. Additionally, incorrect perception creates tension and sometimes negativity, which may lead to negative effect and reduction in overall productivity of a business.
Why do we do it? Why do we create potentially incorrect perception of someone based on our observations versus simply speaking with a person in question and asking questions to learn more about them and to address our perception concerns?
In most situations we are simply afraid or uncomfortable in approaching another person whether it is our colleague or business leader with no specific reason at all. Instead, many people choose to fall back on their original perception as their reality, whether it is accurate or not. That is how incorrect perception of you or someone else is created.
Now let’s look at perception of you in the eyes of others (ex. Your colleagues, clients, business partners, etc.). How would you feel if someone had a negative or incorrect perception of you? I am sure that it would not be a very good or positive feeling to have. I’ve been there and know that it’s very uncomfortable to be viewed from incorrect perception, especially if you are unaware of the misperception and unable to address it right away.
How does one learns about and addresses incorrect perception of himself or herself and what is Perception Management?
Steps that one may take in order to learn about his or her perception:
1. Ask for open and honest feedback about you from your colleagues, business leaders, employees during the business meetings and/or individual meeting sessions
a. Be open to and willing to receive direct and constructive feedback during these sessions. It is one of the most important steps in successful feedback uncovering.
b. Do not interrupt or try to address incorrect perception with the person speaking during the meeting
c. Encourage additional and detailed feedback
d. Take notes of the information that is being shared with you
2. Conduct regular feedback sessions in order to encourage continuous feedback for you
a. This could be a quick 15-30 min sessions held once per month, or whatever time frequency works best in your situation
3. When you are meeting with your business leader, employee, or colleague for the very first time, you may discuss your preferred communication and leadership styles, and at the same time encourage an open feedback from the person you are speaking with to be shared with you in the future
What are the ways to an effective perception management?
1. Focus on the feedback received versus your ego
2. Do not react negatively to the constructive feedback shared with you by others when it comes to incorrect perception
3. Be open and willing to receive negative feedback
4. Ask for clarification or examples for an additional clarity and to make sure you are focusing on addressing the perception shared with you versus the one you thought that you’ve heard
These are some of many ways to understand and manage your own perception. If you are interested to learn more ways to effectively manage your perception, you may purchase a copy of my e-book titled "Perception Management Techniques. Ways to correct negative or incorrect perception," which will be available for purchase in the Heart & Mind of a Leader online store on Wednesday, March 4th, 2016
Best of luck to you and, remember, that the perception you give out at any given time, may be someone’s perceived reality. How is your perception?