Viewing Multiple Realities For me the movie ‘The eye of the beholder’ highlighted the importance of various factors that hinder us from perceiving a person’s personality accurately. If not handled appropriately factors like snap judgment, pre-occupation, self-projection, prejudice and pre-disposition completely alter our perception presenting us a much skewed version of the reality. I have been a victim of some of these barriers at different stages in my life. I remember many years ago when I was leading my first team, a new member was scheduled to join us.
I had received an initial feedback about him indicating that he was not very competent and was an average performer. This feedback had clouded my perception about him and it was reflected in my behavior even during our initial interactions. When I was allocating him work for the first time, I refrained from giving him particularly difficult pieces and made a comment that it was too difficult for him to attempt. In hindsight I think while it was ok not to give him difficult work right at the start without judging his capabilities first hand, but commenting about it was inappropriate on my part.
Luckily our company had a 360 degree feedback mechanism and I was made aware of this instance during the next opportunity. It was a life-time learning for me and since then I have always tried to understand and appreciate individual’s view point in a given situation and context while isolating any prejudice or pre-conceived notions about him. Another important aspect of behavioral perception that I have learned about is how to balance the relatively more prominent and less prominent people in a team situation.
It often happens that a person in a team with good public speaking and presentation skills gets more than his fair share of the overall credit while the quiet ones are perceived to have not contributed much. I try to look beyond the obvious reality and often spend my time with more introvert people in the team trying to understand their opinions and concerns, if any. I have continued to mature emotionally learning to understand a situation using reason than only emotion while separating the fad from the facts.
While assessing people and situations, I try to look beyond the highlighted emotion and rather rely on the available facts while making a judgment. And also I do not hesitate to seek more information if required. The class material further emphasized the importance of my learning experiences and has provided me with a more structured way of looking at the perception barriers. Going forward it will help me develop a more thorough approach in decision making while NOT make any snap judgments especially in fast moving and charged-up situations where a lot of pre-disposition and prejudice is in the play.
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