How do people perceive you and how important is this really? The predominant relationships within a business environment are typically with one’s boss, peers and direct reports. They could also be customers, vendors, shareholders, etc. The quality of these relationships is formed primarily from the perceptions that exist between parties. And if it’s not good, it can do untold damage to reputation and more critically one’s ability to perform and succeed.
The secret is that in order to change another person’s perception of you, you have to change YOU. Here are a few ways of doing just that.
- Develop greater self awareness by observing yourself more attentively in action. What are you doing that might be conveying an unintended message? How do you respond to what others have to say? What are you not doing that you should be?
- Seek out feedback from others on how you are perceived. Sometimes we do not realize the impact we have and the negative perceptions we generate. We all have blind spots. Have you ever heard yourself saying, following feedback from others, “I never knew I always said that” or “I didn’t realize I was having such an adverse impact”?
- Develop awareness of other people’s needs. Walk in their shoes, be empathetic and try to imagine how you would view things if roles were reversed. The more you give the more you get. Genuinely help others to succeed and they will facilitate your success also.
- Hone your communication style that builds connections. Look for opportunities to make subtle changes such as listening more attentively or asking questions that the room can benefit from (rather than to show everyone how smart you are). Make your conversations more about other people’ needs and they will see you in whole different positive light.
Remember you have considerable control over how others perceive you. In the words of Gandhi, “be the change you want to see”. These subtle changes can have exponential affects.