November 6


How Would Your Colleagues Vote?

By Sara Canaday

November 6, 2012

advancement, career, corporate leader, election, presidential election, professional blind spots, vote

sara canaday how would your colleagues voteWith the presidential election upon us, it’s safe to say that we’ve all had a chance to experience the power of perceptions in the last few months. No matter what side of the political fence we live on, we tend to make judgments about the candidates based on how they deliver their messages – their facial expressions, tone of voice, body language and demeanor. Think about the recent debates. Does a candidate seem to be exhibiting strength or is he being combative? Does he sound confident or flustered? Does he appear energetic or disengaged? As the fluctuating poll numbers demonstrate, perceptions can make a world of difference.

The same thing happens in the business world. But instead of losing an election because of negative perceptions, we might lose out on the promotion…the bonus…the new job. We all know colleagues who have killer resumes but still can’t seem to get any career traction. On the surface, they are doing everything right, but they’re simply stuck. The likely culprit? Less-than-glowing perceptions by their supervisors and co-workers — or what I call professional blind spots, those unintentional behaviors or attitudes that can subtly derail promising careers.

Even the smartest and most talented professionals have blind spots. However, the people who are truly successful have learned how to identify and eliminate them. They pay close attention to the way they deliver messages and how those messages are received. They know how to “read” responses in others, ask for honest feedback, and modify their behaviors to make sure they are being perceived exactly as they intend. They have mastered the art of creating positive perceptions. Which equate to great reputations. Which translate into career success.

Now that we have all stepped in to those voting booths, take a moment to think about how your professional reputation would fare in an office election. If you were on the ballot for advancement as a corporate leader, how would your colleagues vote? Would you win by a landslide? Or do you really want to calculate the exact margin of error before you answer? Either way, I hope you’ll see the value of learning more about this critical issue. I’d love to know what you think.

Sara Canaday

About the author

Sara began her journey working full-time while she earned an MBA. As she climbed the ladder of corporate America, she repeatedly observed a surprising phenomenon: the most successful people weren’t necessarily the ones with the highest IQ or best job skills. She recognized instead that career advancement was much more closely linked with how people applied their knowledge and talents — their capacity to collaborate, communicate, and influence others.

Today, Sara is happily fulfilling that commitment as a keynote speaker, author, and executive coach. These venues have given her the opportunity to mentor and support thousands of people in diverse situations, inspiring many of them to move from insight to action with dramatic career results.

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