What other people think of me is not my problem.

Have you heard that statement before? Me too.

And in certain situations that statement can be helpful, when you are trying to mentally distance yourself from a toxic person or situation, for example.

However, the statement rings hollow when you are a leader. What other people think of you is your problem. Especially if your intention and your impact are misaligned.

The way you’re perceived will govern how people respond to you. As a leader, you may picture yourself as approachable yet some may find you the opposite. Often our self-perception collides with the perception of others. It’s a major factor in why self-assessments are notoriously the least accurate of all assessments. 

So how do you know how you are being perceived?
Let’s start with intention and impact.

Successful leaders align the intentions in their hearts and minds with the impact of their behaviors. It’s not as easy as that sentence makes it sound. Yet those who argue with information they don’t like have a difficult time seeing themselves through the lens of others.

Your intention may be a positive one, but if the recipient thinks otherwise, you’ve had an alternative impact than what you intended. 

Below are a few scenarios to consider if you think your intention is not aligning with your impact:

Complete the top sentences, then have someone, whose opinion you trust, complete the bottom sentences for you. Compare the responses.

  • You get the best of me when ___________________________.
    • I get the best of you when ________________________.
  • You get the worst of me when __________________________.
    • I get the worst of you when _______________________. 
  • I’m really good at ____________________________________.
    • You’re really good at _____________________________.
  • I want to be known for ________________________________.
    • You are known for _______________________________.
  • Others believe I’m good at _____________________________.
    • I believe you’re good at __________________________.