I was in the midst of a healthy debate with a colleague.
“Perception is not everything, reality is everything” my colleague argued.
Personally, I agree with her, reality is everything. Professionally, I have to disagree with her.
Allow me to give you an example: Say you are having a very bad day. One of those days when even smiling baby pictures fail to bring a smile on your face. You receive a call from a client who you owe something. You answer the call with a brim of dispassion and attitude of ‘I don’t give a fund’. Reality is that you are an awesomely personable individual who is excellent in customer service, except on this day. Perception you just left with your client is that you are a snob head. Now tell me is reality everything? Doesn’t perception make a whole deal of sense when you are dealing with outside world?
Lets consider another example, an airline pilot after flying for hours, required to have a big smile and thank passengers at the gate for flying with them. He is more tired, jet lagged and exhausted like any other individual on that flight. Yet he is required to do as a professional. Our perception as a passenger may portray a different picture.
Now that we have established that perception in the workplace is the most crucial aspect in the professional world, let’s look at how to build an impeccable perception of you in your professional careers.
Leave your troubles outside the office or take the day off:
Prime yourself when you start your day for the workday ahead. If you are having one of those gloomy days (reasons don’t matter) take the day off. I have seen many outstanding individuals lose their reputation due to their reaction to the situation on a bad hair day. Call in sick and save your career.
Only family forgives:
Reality is everything when you are dealing with your family because they know that you always return after an intermittent episode of fit of rage (even they have breaking points though). In professional circles, you lose your cool once and it will haunt you for many eons. Stop using the excuse that perception is NOT everything – in professional circles it is.
Make pro-activeness your way:
Everyone commits mistakes. If you do nothing about your mistakes you leave a bad perception with those you work with. If you are always proactive of doing everything to the extent possible to fix your mistakes, then it will earn a whole different perception of you.
Keep your eye on the goal:
Do you want to be the next CEO or Executive or whatever in your current profession at your current job? Do not skim over that question. Objectify what your goal is. Many times, I found, people start behaving aloof and distanced at their workplace creating a perception that is not true to their real self because they secretly want to quit, they just cannot find that ceremonious moment. If that is you – then see how long you can continue like this? What is your exit strategy and until you exit – do everything to keep up a healthy perception.
I know these ideas are a little unorthodox about the given subject and if you re-read you will know they are addressing the root cause instead of the symptoms. If you want to address symptoms, count 10 to 1; if you want to address root cause, apply what you read.