Changing Perceptions

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How do you change the perception your followers have of you when you have done something stupid? As human beings, we have all had that occasion when we just open our mouths at the wrong time, or react poorly to something that has occurred. Unfortunately it only takes that one moment to change how someone views you. I remember the old saying, “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” Once you make that positive first impression, how do you continue down that path, so the second, third or fourth impression someone has of you will not be your demise?

I have made similar mistakes in my career and it is truly difficult to turn around a negative perception. Even though you may not consistently exhibit the behavior that got you into trouble in the first place, people have already formed an opinion about you. As a leader, you would anticipate that people trust you and automatically expect you to do the right thing. When that doesn’t happen, in a sense, you are breaking that trust that has already been established.

I have always felt that humility is the first step. If you mess up admit it; don’t try to excuse your actions. People will have an easier time trusting you if you open up and show a little humility. Vulnerability is not the enemy, it just shows people you are human and are not afraid to be honest.

What do you believe is an important step in changing a negative perception when you have made a mistake?

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