A flashy men’s suit, a woman’s shoe with a red sole. A shiny high-performance sedan or a big tire SUV. Does this have anything to do with observed success?
Many people care a great deal about what other people think. As such, they condition nearly everything they do by what they believe other people will say, or how they’ll pass judgment on who they are.
Does it have anything to do with your ability to perform job tasks and duties? In some ways, yes, but is it all given too much weight? Too much judging and not enough focus on outcomes?
In the workplace, people aren’t necessarily good at a skill or knowledgeable in technology based on how they dress, where they live, or what kind of car they drive. Yet, as a society, we give a certain amount of credit or respect based on what we see.
We tend to stereotype and have bias.
The truth often is that looking the part and acting the part are somewhat different than the outcomes from the person who is actually in that job role.
Is the high school football star, the trigonometry expert, or aspiring runway model the best candidate for the job?
Many may quickly suggest that those things have little or nothing to do with workplace skill requirements. It doesn’t mean that they are good communicators, team builders, or budget managers, does it?
The things we do in life, in leisure or hobby, have a lot to do with skills that we build, yet, they may have little to do with our character, integrity, and ability to lead.
It seems silly that we would allow exterior perceptions to condition job performance abilities.
Sure, all of it matters. And we cannot forget that perception is reality as observed by many in society.
Yet, you shouldn’t make the costly mistake of allowing your bias or stereotyping to have too much weight in your judgment of future outcomes.
Whether you are the business owner, the hiring manager, or the tenured employee seeking to improve your contribution, remember to apply appropriate weight to your observations.
Making a judgment is not the same as making a good decision.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.