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Managing Perception at Work

(by Kai Sieng)

Remember the time when we were growing up, we were often told “Everybody is entitled to their own opinion and the truth prevails”.

Is this still true?

The truth may prevail over time but usually perception matters more. Sometimes facts do not matter anymore when people have made cemented their perception of you. Therefore, you might be the best in your field and might be the most skilled person for the job. If people in your workplace developed negative perception of you, you wouldn’t last long in your organisation. The same applies if you move to another firm.

It’s all about managing perception and managing your brand. You know what they say, “First Impression Counts”. Some tips that you can take heed of in order to start managing perception of yourself in your organisation (the list is not exhaustive):

Get to know people in your workplace – Start by saying “hello”. Socialise and get to know people in your firm. If you are working from home, you can do it virtually, using video call.
Ask questions – You don’t have to be “Ms or Mr Know-it-All”. People like it when you ask questions about what they do.
Respect People’s Time – Don’t be late for any appointment or forget your meetings. If you have an urgent thing you have to attend to, please notify your colleagues early. You cannot make people perceive that your time is more important than theirs.
Be humble – You don’t have to blow your own horn too often. Master the art of subtlety.
Don’t complain and whine too much – No one likes a “downer”.
Always be generous with your compliments and praises – Everyone likes positivity. Spread the positive vibes around and the vibes will come back to you.
Ask for Feedback from your Manager and Colleagues – When you ask them for feedback, it shows that you are constantly trying to improve. When you receive feedback, you can take time and evaluate it.
Volunteer your Time – You can volunteer your time to help colleagues or in projects. This will not only give you some brownie points but it will also give you more exposure and get to know more people.
Take ownership – Firstly, you have to take ownership of your work. You, as an individual, are accountable for the quality and timeliness of an outcome, even when you’re working with others. Secondly, it is important to take ownership of your mistake. If you make a mistake, say sorry and learn from your mistake.