Perception Matters…Manage it well

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Guest Post by W4C3 Coach, Cornelia Shipley

Your leadership effectiveness is impacted by the perceptions of those you work for, those who work for you and those you work with. If you fail to manage the perception these three stakeholder communities have of you and your performance you may struggle to achieve your career objectives. Daily those you work with are assessing and judging your attitude, work ethic and ability to deliver. They are deciding if they want to work with or for you based on each encounter they have and everything they hear from those who work with you. If you don’t manage public perception well, it may be challenging for you to contribute your best. Start by understanding these three aspects of perception management:

  1. Recognize when people perceive you in an unfavorable light. Pay attention to your colleagues, direct reports and managers engage with you. Are they avoiding you like the plague? Are you being left out of critical meetings? Are people constantly challenging your contributions? Are you experiencing a general sense when you are present with colleagues something is simply off? All of these things may be signs that your community does not view you in the most favorable light. It is up to you to pay attention to the signals and when you receive feedback verbal or otherwise that something is off, be willing to confront the issue head on – PRIVATELY! Have the conversation acknowledging what you sense and asking about what may be going on. If that doesn’t work ask a colleague you trust to support you by intervening on your behalf. Above all else, don’t let the poor perception stand.
  2. Remember you have huge influence over others perception of you. In my book Design Your Life, I share the three ways perception is created: what you say, what you do, and what others say about what you said and did. That’s it and you control two-thirds of that equation. The more what you say and what you do is congruent the better perception your colleagues will have of you.
  3. Don’t let a bad brand stand. You only have one reputation and if it turns sour it can be really hard to course correct (more about that in another post). Don’t let a bad brand stand. Reach out to those who have a negative perception of you and do the work to understand why there is a negative perception and clean it up.

Perception has a huge impact on your career so manage it well. Be diligent about your brand management every day and clean up misperceptions and misunderstandings as soon as possible. Be sure to check out my next article on how to shift others negative perceptions of you.

 

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