Some people may regard corporate work environments as a place with a hive mentality: workers clock in to do repetitive work while the big boss acts as the part of the queen bee—instructing everybody what to do and what their purpose is.
While some parts of this analogy (on some days) hold, the reality is that any workplace can be more effectively likened to an ecosystem of sorts. Instead of one type of animal, it’s more like a system of them trying to find a balance. Different groups interact with each other and can affect each other in significant ways.
Work environments are highly social environments, and it’s part of why some people succeed in a specific role, and some don’t. We often see people attributing their success to hard work, but “hard work” can mean many things.
One of these things is perception management. Knowing how to brand yourself at work can often be the deciding factor in a successful career. But why is perception management such an essential thing in the workplace?
Perception management helps you get promoted
One benefit of properly managing how people see you at work is a higher chance of landing a promotion at work. Remember that work environments are highly social environments, and this includes the selection process.
Putting your best foot forward in interviews is an example of perception management. You want the interviewer to know that you meet the requirements of the position by highlighting your best qualities.
But perception management can be even more subtle. The way you dress, the way you talk, and also the words you use all have subliminal effects on how the interviewer sees you and thinks of you. If you’re able to manage all this and have a killer resume, your chance of landing that promotion is even better.
Perception management helps with managing a team
Another reason why managing your reputation at work is an essential facet of work-life happens when you get asked to lead a group on a certain project. You must give off the impression that you know what you are doing and how you plan on executing it.
If you can, then the chances are that everybody in your team will fall in line much more quickly. You’ll meet deadlines much quicker and encountering fewer social roadblocks along the way. However, the moment you start to seem like you are not sure of how to proceed, everybody in your team may question why you were even asked to lead the project in the first place.
A straightforward solution most leaders use in situations like this is to brainstorm with the group. This gives the impression that despite your position in the team, you want to give everybody’s ideas a fair chance at being heard. While this won’t solve your lack of knowledge in the subject matter, it does buy you time and allows you to evolve your leadership comfort zone.
It’s often been said that perception is reality. The way you are perceived at work is a result of people’s impressions about you. They may never share those impressions with you. When unmanaged, these impressions can become ugly rumors and gossip that can ruin your status at work. This is why it’s essential to play an active role in managing your reputation in the workplace.
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