A commonly heard complaint: “My manager is a control-freak and practice micro-management. He asks for suggestions but provide them all himself. He doesn’t believe in imperfection and try to fit us into his unrealistic expectations.”
Perceiver believes that it is the reality but he might be just focusing on the aspects which reinforce his existing beliefs. Your friends, co-workers or the society don’t know “a real you” but “they know you as they perceive you” as they always have perception about you. But when most of the decision makers in an organization shares the same perception about someone than it doesn’t really matter what “reality is” as “perception becomes the reality”.
It’s hard for an organization to get required contribution from an individual who is not able to accomplish his own goals within organization and in order to achieve your purpose you need to know that how people perceive you. Any undesired perception about you, your products or services will not go away if you deny its existence.
It‘s not possible for you to communicate with each perceiver to explain who you really are, in case you are not happy about it. But before you make any effort to change perception, you need to understand three critical factors which contribute to perception formation process. And they are:
- Your performance: How you perform in a given context contributes majorly towards perception about you. Initial performance is a foundation stone in this process and often takes a lot of effort to change, in case you want to change it later, for better.
- Your competitor’s performance: Comparison and competition are unavoidable and if you are afraid of them, then you really fear your own incompetence. You need to know what your competitor’s are doing before they walk over you.
- Perceivers’ viewpoint: You are dealing with humans and they are prone to mistakes and prejudices. It can go in your favor or against you. These people can be your customers, key influencers in your organization or anyone who is a stakeholder in your current or future endeavors.
You may want to manage one or more of these factors depending on your power of influence but at minimal you should always be in a position to improve your own performance.
If you don’t want to be defined by what you are not, if you want to feed your opportunities and starve your problems; you need to take charge to change perception about you and the time is now. But what if you have already tried your best and are fully convinced that perception about you is unchangeable? You are neither the first nor the last person to feel it, recharge your batteries and hit the trail again. New jobs are waiting to be done, new teams are waiting to be led and new ideas are waiting to be born…
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