Most of us have an inner vision of who we think we are and how we assume we appear to others. Although the opinions of others should be taken in healthy doses, it is important that we’re not completely clueless to the way we come across to others. Why?
How Others See You Affects Your Pay, Your Promotions, and Your Connections
People like to categorize. Either intentionally or unintentionally, we are placed in groups and segregated in other’s minds. The groups can range widely, but they can look something like this:
- Good communicators
- Skilled management
- Willing to learn
- Committed to excellence
That’s the positive side. Unfortunately, we’re not all in that group. Here’s a few more:
- Long winded
What if you fall into one of the second categories? Then what?
The truth of the matter is, no one is perfect and any one of us could (and probably do) fall into more than one category. Someone may think we’re a great communicator, but also long winded. That’s not a good thing. So, we know how to get our point across, but we don’t know when to stop talking. Yikes.
These little things that obviously need a bit of adjusting can affect our relationships, jobs, promotions, and so much more. A Harvard Business Review article recently told the story of one modest and caring executive who was shocked to learn (after speaking with a personal coach who examined his professional relationships) that his habit of interrupting others led people to view him as haughty and arrogant, which is actually the opposite of who he really is. It affected many of the decisions others made about him.
Why Are We Delusional?
It’s pretty easy to figure out why we might be so off base with our thoughts on the way others view us. Often, employees (or anyone we may outrank for the time being) put on a happy face and put up with us, regardless of the way we behave. After all, who wants to jeopardize their future?
Unfortunately, this just compounds the problem. Often, we use the false approval of others to cancel out the clear messages our spouse, children, or leaders are trying to give us.
So, how do we renew our sense of awareness, and get that honest feedback that will help us to become the best possible version of ourselves?
Discovering Your Personal Brand
How others view you is part of your personal brand. It’s not that difficult to discover how other’s see you. The first step involves a willingness to hear what we may have been denying, and the decision to work on and improve.
- Ask Questions – Part of reinventing yourself involves the discovery process. Approach a few friends and colleagues who are gifted at this sort of thing (believe me, they’re out there) and be honest. Let them know that you are on a quest for self improvement and ask them to write down your top 5 improvement areas. You could even have them do so anonymously.
- Hold a Focus Group – If you have a strong online presence, set up a questionnaire. Ask individuals from all walks of life and those who have a wide variety of contact with you to rate your strengths and pinpoint at least 2 of your weaknesses. Take every bit of feedback to heart. Our biggest mistakes often come from dismissing suggestions over and over again because we don’t think they pertain to us, when they really do.
- Send Out Customer Satisfaction Surveys – Often we like to hide behind our brand or our company. It makes it easier to accept criticism. But what if we simply put ourselves out there and asked our customers and clients how they felt we were doing, as well as inviting pointers on what to improve. If you cringed at the very thought of this, the simple truth is that you’re probably living at some level of denial about yourself, your treatment of others or the excellence in which you run your business.
I hope this article was helpful. As mentioned, we don’t have to allow ourselves to be brutally shredded by others, but asking for honest and constructive opinions can actually prevent you from derailing your entire career, relationships and more, –if you’re willing to take the advice!
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