January 25, 2017

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The power of perception in the workplace


Perception is a vital element of success in any workplace. Perception often carries more weight than actual performance. This is because people really struggle to accept facts when their perception differs from the facts.

Why perception is so important

Your behaviour and your decisions are based on your perceptions. Your perceptions are what you believe is true. But just because you believe something is true does not mean that it’s really true. For example, if you believe (if you have the perception) that a chair will hold your weight, you will sit in the chair without thinking about it. But if the chair actually has a broken leg that you didn’t notice, you will fall even though you believed the chair was perfect.

Your perceptions are what you believe is true. The truth is what is really true.

– Marina Pearson, Author

How perceptions operate in the workplace

Each one of us holds many perceptions that we simply picked up from our lives so far, from our parents, culture, traditions, the media, from all around us. Many of these perceptions and true and valuable, and good to hang on to. But most of us have some beliefs that are simply not true. They are called irrational beliefs. You need to think about your beliefs and values critically so that you can make good choices and decisions.

You also need to recognise that your co-workers have their own perceptions and irrational beliefs.

For this reason you need to pay close attention to how you appear and act in front of others. Place yourself in their shoes and see how they are likely to perceive you.

Never assume that you can avoid being judged by others or that you are immune to negative opinions.

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Tips for being perceived as an excellent worker

  1. Understand the boss: Get to know their goals and help them achieve those goals.
  2. Look the part: People who are naturally attractive or work hard to look attractive are perceived more favourably. Make sure that you look professional and well groomed.
  3. Get noticed: Employees who mention and promote their legitimate achievements seem to superiors to be more productive than those who keep quiet about their achievements.
  4. Be a valuable team member: Maintain good relationships with colleagues and be positive and helpful.
  5. Pay attention: Be aware of how your behaviour affects others. Take note of the way co-workers react to you and assess what you can do to improve the way you are perceived.

Above all, remember: perception is reality!

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There is no truth. There is only perception.

 – Gustave Flaubert, French novelist

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