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'How do I change my boss's perception of me?' from Your Talent@Work with Shawn Kent Hayashi

How do I change my boss's perception of me?

Posted: Jan 8, 2013

The Client's Problem: Jacqueline is a senior manager whose boss had labeled her as "arrogant and defensive" after receiving feedback that she was difficult to report to.

Jacqueline admits that  she did behave that way a year ago, but she has since worked with a coach and dramatically changed her interaction with her employees and peers. Her boss has not seen the significant growth Jacqueline has experienced over the past year; he has not spent time with her to see the changes in her behavior. What can Jacqueline do now to change her boss's perception of her? In the next six months there will be an opportunity to lead a new division, and Jacqueline wants to be considered for that role. How can Jacqueline get her boss to notice her growth so he will consider her for high level leadership positions within the company?

The Coach's Solution: To solve Jacqueline's problem, she and I discussed the communication style of her boss Ben. The owner of the global engineering consulting firm, Ben wants data, facts, and research. Knowing that data was the key to convincing Ben,  Jacqueline agreed to have me conduct a 360 survey, which would yield a report with feedback from those in direct contact with her.

The 360 Survey: I do 360 surveys in two ways.  First, I invite people to go on-line and complete a survey about the leadership style or the emotional intelligence of the person in question.  Up to 100 people can respond. Since Jacqueline has a large staff, I decided to use this type survey for them.  When I could see the patterns that emerged from the results, I then conducted another type of 360 survey with Jacqueline's peers and senior management. I did perceptual interviews to ask colleagues to reflect on working with Jacqueline over the past year.  As I asked  questions about their interactions, they began to see for themselves how much she had grown and changed.  One of her peers even said to me, "Wow, as I reflect on this conversation, I am realizing that in the past six months working with Jacqueline has been a pleasure. She listens and is more compassionate than I ever recall her being before."  

I asked Ben the same questions I asked the others, and he admitted that he had not worked with Jacqueline in months.  He was then interested to see the results of the 360 survey and was blown away by the positive written comments in the report.

The Result: Jacqueline changed her boss's perception of her abilities by understanding his communication style and by taking steps to provide him with relevant data about her professional growth.  That is why Jacqueline was promoted into the role she really wanted - a role that suited her perfectly.

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