Client Question: “I would like to be perceived differently than I am today. I want my management to see that I am ready for the next level. How do I do that?”
The best place to start is to understand fully how you are being perceived today. Have you been given feedback that you need to do some things differently? Did the feedback come from just one person or is it coming from multiple sources? Do you see any consistent themes? Remember that perception isn’t always the reality, but it is how others observe your behavior.
You have a choice to make now that you have the information . You get to decide what you want to do. It is pretty common to be a little defensive when you hear the feedback that you need to make changes. You may feel that it isn’t in line with who you are or it doesn’t fit into your values. You can choose to ignore it or you can put a plan of action in place to address it. The reason I like to call this out is that it is your choice! Let’s explore these options.
Option 1 – You make the choice to ignore the feedback and keep doing what you are doing. If the feedback is true and the perception is there, it will be nearly impossible for anyone who has that opinion to see you differently if you don’t make changes. It is the definition of insanity to keep doing the same things, but expecting a different result. You may have to move to a different area of the organization or leave the company to be seen differently. The current role that you have may not be playing to your strengths and it can be an opportunity to shine in a different function. You can also move to another company and do really well because they don’t have any preconceived notions of you. It can be a great chance to start with a clean slate.
Option 2 – You decide that the feedback has merit and you want to make changes. Think about what the feedback is saying to you. Look at any examples that were shared with you in an objective way and ask yourself what could you have done differently? What would someone at a higher level have done? Ask someone who is an internal mentor how they would have handled it in the culture of your organization. This is all information that you can use as input to create an action plan. Review your action plan with your coach or mentor to get additional ideas. Thank the people who gave you feedback and share that you are moving forward with an action plan. Let them know that you will be checking in periodically to see if they are seeing a difference in you. Doing these things will push you out of your comfort zone. The process of changing perception takes time, so be intentional and start executing it today. Continue to believe in yourself, have confidence and be consistent to ensure success.
Both of these options demonstrate success for people who want to be promoted. Pick one of the options, decide what you want and then go do it. Leverage a coach or mentor for support and ask for help if you run into challenges. Continue to do some self reflection on your own progress and keep moving forward.