Have you ever been baffled as to why your great idea didn't sell at the staff meeting? Or wondered what was behind that promotion you wanted being rejected at the last minute?
Well, hate to your crush your ego, but the sad truth is that the majority of us are unaware about how others perceive us in a professional setting.
A new study to be published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (titled “Pushing in the Dark: Causes and Consequences of Limited Self-Awareness for Interpersonal Effectiveness,” if you want to sound shmancy when sharing this data with your friends) reveals that over 50% of the time, people are totally wrong about how others view them in the workplace. Those who see themselves as compromising or open-minded are often viewed as micromanaging or hard-headed. Not surprisingly, we tend to overinflate our strengths, telling ourselves we have the smartest ideas or the best "people skills" . . . all while struggling to collaborate, or being confused about the boss dismissing our pitches. What is it that we're missing?
Research has found three primary factors in workplace social interactions: control, confidence and conscientiousness. Specifically:
These issues are important as they evaluate how the individual behaves within group settings in three aspects: the individual’s willingness to interact and follow instructions (control), the individual’s sense of self-efficacy and ability to overcome cultural inhibitions and decision to contribute (confidence) and the individual’s sense of duty to perform work (conscientiousness).
While most of us pigeonhole our co-workers ("Don't go to Carole, she shoots down ev-er-y-thing"), we don't spend nearly as much time pondering our own impact on morale. Basically, we're too outwardly focused to tap into our own full potential. If we really want to hit the mark, we have to do some belly-gazing and pay a lot more attention to how our words, body language and decisions come across to others.
There are all kinds of ways to work on your self-awareness, from more open dialogue with your loved ones, to solo travels, to meditation. Discovering yourself—flaws and all—may just make you a person others would like to work with.