You’ve probably heard the saying, “Perception is reality.”
But even if you haven’t, the concept is worth considering – especially when it comes to relationships with your coworkers.
Physical, Quick, Acute and Intuitive
The dictionary defines perception as “awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation; physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience; quick, acute and intuitive cognition; a capacity for comprehension.”
There are a lot of strong words within that definition. Can a person’s perception of you affect them physically, for instance? Perhaps. Also, consider the meaning of:
- Cognition: “the mental action of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses” and:
- Comprehension: “the action or capability of understanding something.”
First Impressions Matter – and So Do Those That Follow
So, are your coworkers’ perception of you reality? The bottom line is: It is to them. So, that’s a yes.
Peoples’ opinions about you are formed based on their knowledge, understanding, thoughts, experiences and senses. Their perceptions stem from every interaction they have with you, every impression you make, and every conversation you have.
The Power of Communication
In short, your coworkers’ perceptions of you are based on how you communicate with them – whether it’s verbal or non-verbal, spoken or written, or conveyed via your tone of voice, body language, or even silence – which, by the way, can sometimes be the most powerful media of all. And you can manage those very real perceptions by improving your communication skills. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Assume nothing. Never assume people have heard the message you’re sending them. Or, if they did, that they understood it. Learn to be an active listener, so you can avoid a potential communication failure.
- Know your audience. This will affect how – and how well – you communicate. Speak in a way that resonates with them and use the channels that work best for them. To discern what these are, get to know and acknowledge each person as an individual: there’s no one-size-fits all communication solution.
- Engage with your team members. Keep your door and your communication lines open. This means it’s always a two-way process. By welcoming, evaluating and reflecting on the feedback you receive from coworkers, you can make the changes you need to improve their perception of you.
- Be gracious. As you assess coworkers’ feedback, there may be some tough pills to swallow. But it’s essential that your colleagues are comfortable opening up to you – remember, this may not be easy for them either – so don’t be defensive, argumentative or negative as you receive their input. Even if their feedback is incorrect, remain professional and open as you clarify things. This can be the key to building lasting positive relationships, as well as dispelling negative perceptions.
For more insight on building communication skills, personal and team development, and keeping your professional career and winning workforce on track, contact Accurate Staffing Consultants today.