How Do You Want to Be Perceived?

How Do You Want to Be Perceived?

Oscar and Sandra are colleagues in their company’s Direct Materials Purchasing Department. They live near one another and take turns driving their 45-minute commute to work. They talk about what is happening at work during their commute. Their department recently conducted 360 degree feedback surveys. The surveys were designed to provide individuals with feedback on their behavior from their peers, subordinates, and supervisors. The intention of the feedback is to help individuals with their personal development and to assist them with increasing their personal effectiveness. The conversation this morning was on the feedback Oscar and Sandra received.

Sandra: I received my 360 degree feedback survey results. Have you received yours?

Oscar: Yes, I have and I am very pleased with the feedback I received from my peers, the people who report to me, and from my boss. The results matched how I want to be perceived.

Sandra: How do you want to be perceived?

Oscar: I want to be perceived as driven; assertive but not aggressive; a great team player; and having a very positive attitude.

Sandra: Congratulations. I did not fare so well with my results. The feedback was not what I expected. When I read the results, I thought there might have been a mix-up. I thought that I must have been provided the wrong feedback. Maybe, the survey was sent to individuals who were not my peers, subordinates, or my boss. Mark, our HR business partner, checked the results I received and confirmed that the results were from the right individuals.

Oscar: What was the difference between the feedback you received and what you expected?     

Sandra: I think of myself as being assertive, one who takes the lead to help my team accomplish its objectives and resolve issues, and that I have a great sense of humor.

Oscar: I gather that was not the feedback you received.

Sandra: You gathered right. The feedback I received was that I was pushy, self-promoting, did not listen to the opinions and suggestions from others, and that I was sarcastic. I was shocked about the feedback. It felt like a punch to my gut.

Oscar: Sandra, I feel so sorry that about your experience.

Sandra: Oscar, I have heard that perception is reality. What did you do to align your perception of yourself to the reality of how others see you?

Oscar: I manage perception, the personal image I want to portray?

Sandra: How do you do that?

Oscar: I developed a personal brand statement which includes what I stand for, the value I offer to the company, and what makes me unique?

Sandra: I also did that. Remember we were in the same personal branding workshop the Procurement organization offered to its members 2 years ago.

Oscar: What did you do with your personal brand statement?

Sandra: You got me. I have not looked at my statement in quite some time.

Oscar: I decided to make sure that I reflected my personal brand. I wanted people to think of me in terms of my personal brand statement and other things I wanted people to think when they heard my name or interacted with me.

Sandra: That sounds like self-advertising!

Oscar: Somewhat.

Sandra: Somewhat? Tell me more.

Oscar: I did subtle self-advertising.

Sandra: Subtle advertising?

Oscar: In addition to my personal brand statement, I developed a “This I Believe” statement.

Sandra: This I Believe?

Oscar: This I Believe is a statement of my core beliefs and values. It is who I am. This statement pops up when I power on my computer each morning. I refer to the statement to guide my decisions and actions or when I encounter challenging situations. I want people to see me as I want to be seen.

Sandra: Would you share you’re your statement with me?

Oscar: Reach into my bag on the back seat and power on my computer. (Sandra powers Oscar’s computer and the statement appears.)

I can withstand any level of adversity as long as I believe in myself and my capabilities.

I must deal with myself before I can deal with others.

My strength comes from within myself.

My true values become apparent during adversity.

Everyone is worthy of my respect.

Sandra: You really know yourself!

Oscar: More importantly, others know me the way I want to be known.

Sandra: Was that all you did?

Oscar: I know that attitude is very important to thriving in our company’s culture. So, I posted a quote on attitude from Charles Swindoll, a renowned author and motivational speaker, in my workspace so others can read it. The quote says:

“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.”

Sandra: I have seen and read this quote on your wall. I admire you for your very positive attitude. Many of our fellow colleagues also express their admiration for your attitude. That is subtle advertising at its best. Have you ever considered going into Advertising?

Oscar: I will stick with Procurement. (Oscar chuckles.)

Through Persona, one of the 6Ps of Marketing, companies reflect their values and what distinguishes their products from their competitors.

Oscar manages his image, his values and uniqueness, which he wants others to see.

How do you want to be perceived in your company?

Are you concerned that the image you portray is inhibiting your career?

Can you articulate who you are, your values, beliefs, and uniqueness?

Do you practice “subtle advertising’?

Did this article generate an AHA moment for you?

I invite you to share your comments, experiences, and suggestions. This helps me provide information that may help you address your career opportunities and challenges.

Fields of Success offers complimentary coaching sessions. Visit the Contact page on the Fields of Success website to schedule a session.

Next week’s article will continue to explain how you can apply the 6Ps of Marketing to experience the career you want to have.

Linwood Bailey is a career coach and the author of The Business of Me: Your Job … Your Career … Your Value. The Business of Me provides a career management process and information designed for today’s business professional. Since 2008, Linwood has enabled business professionals to manage their careers. Linwood, the been there coach, provides innovative career management solutions derived from his 34 years of experience managing functions and people in multiple industries, regions, and corporate cultures.



Founder, Fields of Success, LLC

Enabling professionals to convert career challenges into career success stories.

Our careers are our most important economic asset.