Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Perception and Reality

"That’s not what I said, well, it’s not what I meant when I said that".

We might make an announcement, verbal or written and in doing so, are totally clear in our mind of its clarity, informative qualities and how it will be received.

Have you ever had a one on one meeting where each of you have completely different perceptions of what was discussed and agreed?  

How we are perceived is powerful.

How others perceive our actions and words can influence outcomes, engagement, morale relationships and careers.

My mantra for many years has been “One's Perception is Their Reality”. I have always accepted responsibility for the perception I have left with someone, intended or not, and perhaps more so when the intention differed to what became their reality or perception.

But while I accepted responsibility, I rarely sort to change the way I went about things.

After all, we all know the good will, energy and intent of a communication, be it written or verbal. It is incredibly clear in our eyes and minds.

Some of the most valuable coaching or advice I received during my senior management career was to be more aware of my intention and of the outcome.

What this meant is, while my intention may be noble, well intentioned, necessary, positive and well thought through, the outcome, or feeling I left with an individual or a group was not necessarily reflective of my intention. This was the case even though in the main, the required result was delivered.

What brought clarity to me was feedback that some staff, including senior staff, occasionally felt intimidated in my presence at a meeting.

My excuse or justification was always that I was merely being upfront, honest, direct and businesslike.

I readily embraced a gentler way and introduced the concept of intent and outcome to my own coaching.

Being aware of the wake we leave behind us is extremely important. Taking responsibility for how our comments and actions are perceived is critical to building and maintaining effective and high performing teams.

As for Perception and Reality - in the eyes of another, Perception is Reality.

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