I’m not arrogant!

January 18, 2010 at 7:26 PM | Posted in leadership | Leave a comment
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How well do you know yourself? Do you know how your actions and words come across to peers, your audience, and your family?

Self-awareness can be a difficult skill to master. Even the most self-aware can, occasionally, use a reality check. How people perceive you can make a tremendous difference in your success as a leader and a businessperson.

What you perceive as helpful questioning during a meeting your peers may perceive as arrogance. Your attitude with subordinates or folks you are working with may be perceived as aggressive or over confident. Your quiet reserved manner may be screaming cold and uncaring to those around you.

How self-aware are you? I discuss this with clients frequently. Particularly when it comes to how we use our words. I was purchasing a Congratulations card this weekend and here’s an example of what one said-

Congratulations!

I hope you’re proud of yourself.

I don’t know about your father, but mine said, “I hope you’re proud of yourself.” most often when I had really messed something up and he was making a point. It wasn’t said in a favorable way. When I read that card I almost fell over! Based on my perception of the statement I would never give that card to anyone.

You have to ask yourself how your words are landing with the individuals to whom you are speaking. Your tone, inflection, facial expression and posture make a tremendous difference in how your words are received.

The concept is similar to your appearance. You certainly wouldn’t show up in a corporate attorneys office with shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops on- not if you expected them to take you seriously. (Ok, maybe on casual Friday, but I doubt it.) You dress appropriately for the situation.

Your behaviour must be appropriate for the situation. If you would like people to believe you have their best interest at heart your words, tone, and expressions must all mirror that interest.

If you’re not sure how self-aware you are ask a trusted friend or peer to be honest about how you are perceived. Be prepared to get feedback you might not be prepared for initially and don’t ‘shoot the messenger’. Knowledge is power and once you know how you are perceived you can look at how your behaviour might be creating that perception.

I use a great tool with clients that really helps to hone in on how your peers, friends, co-workers, and subordinates perceive you. It allows us to identify areas for growth and areas of strength.

Take a look at what you are doing and ask how those around you might perceive your actions. Be your authentic self. Raise your self-awareness, choose to behave the way you want to be perceived and good things will happen.

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