Managing Perception in the work place- Why is it Important?

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” –  Aldous Huxley

Perception is simply the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. It’s a psychological process of observation and interpretation. It is the process through which individuals receive stimuli (In physiology, a stimulus, plural stimuli, is a detectable change in the internal or external environment) from the physical world. It involves using senses to acquire the information about the surrounding environment or situations and making interpretations accordingly. That which is perceived in a way is revealed to behave in a particular way, and so is done by a person. It gives rise to understand the aspect that the same world is perceived differently by different people – that is to say – the world is not the same to every one, because everyone of us thinks differently and has varying views about the world. It would thus be appropriate to say that every individual lives in his or her own perceived world which is not the same as the real world is. And this is how  the Perception differentiates between individuals. As it has been pointed out in the saying, “How we perceive everything is a simple perception on who we are sub-consciously”

A multicolored arc in the sky is just a rainbow to a common man, but a poet has greater capacity to receive sense impressions about it to express his powerful feelings. The great poet Wordsworth was such an individual whose heart leapt up with joy on beholding a rainbow and he expressed his feelings of his own accord about the rainbow. Similarly, a lay man would say about moonlight to be its own, but the one who knows well would tell that the moon does not have its own light, it’s the reflected one being transformed from the sun. I would rather like to put it in a poetic expression:

A rose to thee, o, my friend
is just a source of fragrance,
but to me ‘tis inspiration’s
that I am enthused to serve the world.

However, the distinction and the uniqueness of individuals is dependent on what they perceive about environment or situations. Just as the perceptual process taking place between situations and behaviors of the individuals is significant in every walk of life, it is of great relevance to organizations, as the situations being perceived bring about particular reactions resulting in either improving organizational performance or weakening it. Inappropriately perceived situations lead to contrary consequences creating misunderstandings. On the other hand, based on the improved perceptual abilities among the employees, there can be positive chances for enhancing productivity and performance.

Perception In the workplace plays a crucial role. A situation may be overstating or understating one’s professional image. Due to misinterpretation, a personality is either portrayed wrongly which results in spoiling one’s reputation and status, or it is represented exaggeratedly with a view to gaining professional advantage. Capable employee may be regarded as incapable, competent as incompetent and vice versa. This goes on unless the person who has position power over subordinate does not figure out his subordinate’s behavior and read him accurately in the light of truth, the layers of perceptual distortions will remain same causing adverse effects. As it goes in this saying, “Perception = projection, the way you view/filter people is the way you will treat them.” Hence, it is important that the owners or the people having higher positions in an organization should take all the factors in to consideration in order to apprehend the situations properly, so that an accurate and effective decision making process may be made.

Perception is vitally important element, as its theory underlies certain set of ideas and principles, in the sense, it helps to determine the individual behavior on the basis of this cognitive process. As an illustration, to a manager, an employee who works efficiently, but needs a bit more time than others to accomplish his tasks may be the one who does his job with accuracy and carefulness, but the same employee to another manager may be regarded to be slow in his performance. In fact, both managers are right in their opinions, as they form them based upon what they have perceived. So, the fact that lies, in the main, is people react to the perceptions rather than reality.

There are various factors by which perception is influenced. The need and the desires of a person play a vital role to influence his perception. It depends on the personality of a person that how he accepts the situations and perceives them. So, the personality of a person is a factor to influence his perception. Furthermore, the experience and knowledge have a lot to do with what is perceived. Nonetheless, what may be construed is not to be overwhelmed by perceptual deformations in order to perceive the situations properly, but the need is to overcome perceptual distortions, shape and improve perceptual abilities.

There can be substantial benefits and positive results if perceptual abilities are made better. One would be able to interpret the situations accurately. The justifications may be made on the realities rather than what is perceived incorrectly. And the factors governing the situations would be considered as they should be. The layers of misunderstandings can be evaporated swiftly. Every individual, at all times, wants to establish his or her good image and impression on others, but due to perceptual distortions it is understood differently. So, a person whose image has been represented wrongly or has been different from what it is in reality; whose reputation has been overshadowed by the layers of misinterpretations or wrongly perceived picture, would be comprehended in the light of facts and genuineness if the perceptual abilities are developed.

Thus, it is of great importance to know and understand what should be done to shape your perception and professional image at your wok place. This could be mentioned briefly: There is a need to avoid forming stereotyped opinions about others. Rather, they should be read properly. It gives rise to have balanced and unbiased outlook, else it will result in perceptual distortion. It also includes developing effective listening and empathetic skills to make employees more competent and capable of doing things and behaving appropriately. And Indeed it’s a fact that the one who understands himself well can understand others appropriately. As it goes in the words of Maslow, “Self-actualizing individuals have more accurate perceptions about themselves than those who are not self-actualizing.”

Self-perception is also important for individuals in many ways. It can help them improve their career goals. if a person sees himself accurately and considers as to how he is perceived by others, he can improve himself and take necessary steps to create his image properly. Thus, improving how you are perceived will not only let you get ahead in the workplace, but will also provide many opportunities for professional development. It will also facilitate you in finding jobs with better prospects by establishing your personal brand effectively.

Take a look at Professional Presentations

Written by:
K. A. Fareed (Fareed Siddiqui)
Writer, Trainer, Author, Blogger, Software Developer
BBA, MBA-Finance, MPhil-Financial Management, (MSc-Software Engineering)
MA-English, MPhil-English
Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications and Programming
Certificate course in English language proficiency
Level 1 – Leadership and Management ILM – UK
Pursuing CMA-USA
Individual Member of Institute of Management Consultants of India


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