Episode #165 A Second Chance to Fix a Bad First Impression « previous episode Thursday, April 30, 2015
Play00:00 / 00:00 ListenAddDownloadEmbed Stream m3u If you've put your worst foot forward the first time you meet someone, all is not lost. There's a way to shake awful first impressions. (TATSIANAMA/Shutterstock) There’s nothing worse than walking away from a job interview or meeting someone for the first time and smashing the heel of your hand to forehead while crying out, “I really blew it!”
We’re constantly told how important it is to make a good first impression, but what happens if you had a bad day or made a flub while speaking or you just aren’t that warm of a person when people first meet you.Can you recover?
Heidi Grant Halvorson says, yes, you can get a chance at a second impression and wrote about how you can in an article for the Harvard Business Review (she’s so sure of it that she even has a new book on the subject No One Understands You and What To Do About It).
In an interview with Charlie Herman, host of Money Talking, Halvorson says one of the biggest issues in making a good impression is that we often think we know how we're coming off, but in truth, we have no idea what's going on in other people's minds when they meet us for the first time. That's why she says we need to ask trusted friends how people perceive us. And then we need to be intentional about how we interact with people around us.
(Listen above for the complete interview.)
First, she suggests empathy. Usually, she says, when we first meet, we're sizing each other up with two key questions:
Are you friend or foe? Are you competent? That is, will you be a potentially powerful ally or enemy? As we unconsciously answer these two questions, our brains are painting portraits of the people around us in the first moments we meet. And those pictures — often drawn in caricature — can be very hard to erase.
Because of our fears about making a good first impression, especially at work, Halvorson says our initial instincts are to try to come across as smart and competent. But she argues that in that first meeting, warmth is more important. The first impressions people have of us come from their guts, so it's not about how good you are at your job, yet. In a job interview, you'll get to prove that with your resume and your answers to questions. But before you exude confidence, you need to show people you'll be a team player and someone who's easy to manage.
Halvorson says it's also important to be deliberate about what your body is doing: Smile when people smile at you, make eye contact, nod and affirm your colleagues' comments because it’s not just about what you say, but how you communicate non-verbally with other people.
And if you do make a bad impression, she suggests two ways to turn it around:
The Long View: Over time, provide the people around you with consistent evidence that their first impression is wrong. For example, if you have a reputation for being late, be early for weeks on end, over and over. Arriving on time once or twice will seem like a fluke; being ready, right on time, every time, will get people to reassess their opinion about your timeliness. Quick Fix: If you get the sense someone doesn't like you, ask to be assigned to that person. You'll have the chance to have that person rely on you for results. If you can deliver, you can expect they will change how they look at you.
The types of problems that do not benefit from intuition are ones that have clear decision rules, objective criteria, and abundant data with which to perform an analysis. In making a medical diagnosis, for example, computer algorithms tend to be more accurate than an experienced medical doctor’s judgment.
Rob Duke's insight:
1. When you're an expert and there are certain artful skills that make intuition foundational in some way.
2. The type of decision is not one that relies on analysis.
Myth #1: There is no place for emotion in the workplace. If you have humans in the workplace, you’re going to have emotions too. Ignoring, stifling, or invalidating them will only drive the toxic issues underground. This outdated notion is one reason people resort to passive-aggressive behavior: emotions will find their outlet, the choice is whether it’s out in the open or in the shadows.
Myth #2: We don’t have time to talk about people’s feelings. Do you have time for backroom dealings and subterfuge? Do you have time for re-opened decisions? Do you have time for failed implementations? Avoiding the emotional issues at the outset will only delay their impact. And when people don’t feel heard, their feelings amplify until you have something really destructive to deal with.
Myth #3: Emotions will skew our decision making. Emotions are already affecting your decision making. The choice is whether you want to be explicit about how (and how much) of a role they play or whether you want to leave them as unspoken biases.
Anyone within an organization has the potential to become a leader, but managers must be leaders. In schools and in our organizations we have been taught and conditioned to believe that managers and leaders are two separate people which is quite a harmful assumption. As a result we have managers [...]
I am ashamed to admit it, but I followed her advice and, sure enough, the secretary was snatched up by a manager in another division. Evidently this kind of dysfunctional behavior is not uncommon; in Brazil there is even a term for it, “people trafficking.”
What can leaders do if they fear that they might be toeing the line where power turns to abuse of power? First, you must invite other people in. You must be willing to risk vulnerability and ask for feedback. A good executive coach can help you return to a state of empathy and value-driven decisions. However, be sure to ask for feedback from a wide variety of people. Dispense with the softball questions (How am I doing?) and ask the tough ones (How does my style and focus affect my employees?).
Demanding cultural compliance — even from subordinates — can sometimes be dangerous because it can breed resentment and anger. To combat this, one of the best strategies for dealing with frustrations about time and other cultural differences, whether you’re in a position of power or not, is to suppress your need for an immediate fix to the problem and instead have patience. Many managers I’ve spoken to work on the relationship first over time. Only once they’ve established a strong working relationship do they start talking about how and why cultural differences are interfering with the work process. In other words, cultural compliance is the ultimate goal, but a strong, trusting relationship is the tool for achieving it.
In the end, cultural differences that interfere with the work you do can be tricky to manage. Smart managers realize this, and work on the relationship first before addressing the underlying cultural issues.
An Alaska Labor Relations Agency hearing officer has found "probable cause" that the city of Fairbanks bargained in bad faith with its police union last year when the city council approved a contract in August and reversed that decision in November.
Give yourself time to calm down and assess the situation Be clear about your contributions whenever you get an opportunity Ask colleagues to mention your name when the idea or project comes up in conversation
Feel like you need to get credit for every single thing you do Presume that the person had malicious intentions — credit stealing is often an accident Make any accusations — instead ask the person questions to try to figure out why it happened
Whether it’s a team member who disagrees with your approach, an employee from another department who brings up irrelevant information, or a colleague who wants to use your meeting as a soapbox for his own personal agenda, dealing with interrupters during a meeting is challenging. “It’s the workplace equivalent of having someone steal the parking spot you were aiming for or jumping ahead of you in the line at the grocery store,” says Judith White, visiting associate professor at the Tuck School of Business. “When someone interrupts you, blocks you, or otherwise thwarts your intended action, it’s natural to feel upset,” she says. “This is a basic instinct and you will always have a flash of annoyance.” The key to successfully dealing with interrupters is to quash your frustration and instead “operate from a mindset of curiosity,”
"Ever since I researched the meanings of monuments in the cultural landscape in Mexico City, I’ve been fascinated by the cultural politics of memory and heritage. The removal of a statue is a cultural 180, acknowledging what was once honored and revered is now something that is not worthy of that distinction. This sort of change is not without protests on both sides and a cultural rearticulation of who 'we' are when 'we' make a public memorial."
Unpaid internships got a new round of scrutiny in 2013 when a federal district court judge in New York found Fox Searchlight Pictures violated unpaid internship rules by not paying two interns on the set of “Black Swan.” Contrary to popular belief, labeling a “job” an “internship” isn’t enough to make it legal to get unpaid labor.
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