The concept that “Perception is Reality” is often an overlooked aspect of business.
If business owners were wise, they would stop to contemplate this statement and learn that how you are perceived truly affects your business, your staff, your company culture, and your customers.
People have the tendency to shape their beliefs, thoughts and emotions around what their initial perception of a situation was, resulting in how they respond. Whether they are accurate in their perception or not, it sets the tone of all interactions and builds their belief in who you are, what your agenda is and how they feel about said intentions.
We base our perceptions off previous experiences we have had in life. Our feelings towards a situation may be completely incorrect about someone- but nonetheless, it is what becomes our reality, even if it is a false reality.
When you see that someone is handling things differently than you anticipated, it’s important to have a conversation with them to uncover their thoughts and feelings over what possible misunderstanding has occurred. Initially, you may find yourself feeling like you are on the defensive, but if you can truly put yourself in the position of the other individual, it will help you resolve issues with a deeper understanding of where the other person is coming from.
This may seem like an easy skill to learn, but it is quite challenging. It is challenging from the aspect that it’s difficult to respond to someone who you feel is completely misunderstanding/mis-perceiving what your intentions are. We oftentimes take this very personally and it can cause a lot of frustration on both sides.
Being misunderstood is not a pleasant feeling. It can cause anger and frustration, but if you can take a step back, and detach from the story of what the other person has perceived, you can respond with empathy. It gives you a window into how the other person is feeling, and why they responded the way that they did.
Acknowledging how you made another person feel is extremely impactful. Even if it was not at all what you had intended, it makes them feel heard. Being heard and validated on their feelings will strengthen your relationship, whether in business or personal- this works in all areas of life.
It is very possible that many business owners do not think that it is their job to “understand others’ feelings”. The mere mention of acknowledging another person’s feelings can make us all feel slightly uncomfortable. Addressing and acknowledging emotions in a work environment is not a normal business strategy that is taught in business school, however, it pays dividends in making people feel heard and valued.