I care about people and consider myself to be warm and friendly. At least that is what I thought. So, it came as a shock to discover that others often saw me as intimidating, cold and aloof. After recovering from the shock, I learned that what I perceived as leadership, others perceived as intimidation. What I thought was just being logical was perceived as being cold and confidence was perceived as aloofness. So, understanding others’ perceptions can be very helpful.
Source: Harvard Business Review, December 19, 2017.
My client was suffering from what psychologists call the transparency illusion — the belief that we’re all open books and that what we intend is what people see. But there can be a wide gap between intent and impact. People are often unaware of their facial expressions, especially when deep in thought.
INSIGHTS: The success or failure of this exercise is summed up in this one line buried in the middle of the article, “While it’s important that you have trusted people in your group, make sure to choose people who will tell it to you straight.” Too many of our colleagues will tell us what they think we want to hear. This is the time for brutal honesty so make sure they and you are okay with that.