Everyone has heard the phrase “perception is reality” and understands that’s it not a declarative statement about actual reality BUT the way an individual views something. For example, if someone thinks you were terse or rude in yours words when speaking to them then their perception is the reality in which they’re living in. To effectively communicate and cultivate a God-honoring relationship with that person it’s important to understand the ins-and-outs of perception. And good leaders understand that the issue of perception is massively important. So what can a leader do to minimize false perceptions or at least work towards clarifying a right perception? Here’s a few:
- Communicate clearly. One way you can help facilitate this is by regularly asking people around you, “did I communicate that well, effectively, clearly?” This requires vulnerability.
- Communicate in multiple mediums. Effective, competent leaders understand that people from different demographics (younger generation, older generation) communicate in different mediums. Too many times I’ve naively said, “but I’ve talked about that from the pulpit” or “it was in the bulletin!” I’ve realized that minimizing false perceptions necessarily means saturating the organization (for my context the church where I serve) with information regularly and in various ways.
- Work hard at sympathizing. Perception many times is wrapped up not just in the immediate conversation but in a lot of history, unresolved relational conflict, assumptions, etc. Effective, competent leaders sympathize with the people around them (i.e. walk in their shoes). This will help tremendously in navigating through false or inaccurate perceptions.
- Stop talking. Listen well. Exemplify humility in word and disposition. A posture of care and concern where you’re actively engaged in listening to them and doing so humbly is jarring and in my experience is a means to dismantling false perceptions.
What else would you add to this list?