How’s your perception? Do you see a young woman or an old hag?
“Perception is reality.”
~ Lee Atwater
When clients ask me for strategies to help advance their careers, I often ask them how they are perceived by others at work—their colleagues, bosses and key decision-makers.
I tell them to list adjectives those people would use to describe them.
Frequent responses are “friendly,” “capable,” “team player,” “dependable,” and so on.
Then I ask how they would like to be perceived?
Their eyes light up and their responses are considerably different. They use much more powerful descriptors, like “decisive,” “resourceful,” “dynamic,” “difference-maker,” “innovative,” “inspirational,” “visionary,” and the like.
But when I challenge them, “What’s keeping you from being perceived the way you want to be?” they shrug their shoulders and act as if they have no influence over how others view them.
Success at work starts with positive perceptions. If your boss and co-workers have a neutral or negative image of you, it’s a pretty good bet you won’t be getting a promotion anytime soon.
That’s why it is so important to take charge of the way you are perceived in your organization.
I’ve developed a 10-step perception transformation plan that will show you how.
In this plan, you’ll learn to:
Observe how your behavior affects others.
Pay attention to how your behavior affects others in both positive and negative ways.
Avoid harmful behaviors.
Steer clear of behaviors that provoke a negative response.
Associate with respected people.
Develop relationships with people who are respected by others, which will strengthen people’s perception of you.
Enlist your boss’s help.
Get your boss to help promote your successes instead of trying to do it alone.
Convey the effort you put in.
Make sure management knows how much effort goes into your work, so they’ll fully understand your contributions.
And much more.
By proactively influencing the way others perceive you, you can enhance your effectiveness, build credibility, and advance your career.
You can find all 10 steps in the guest post I wrote for Great Leadership, a website that focuses on leadership development.
To learn more about how creating the right perceptions can help you get ahead at work, read my new book, Getting Ahead, and put your career on the fast track.