Congruent Impressions

You’re always making an impression, even when you’re not thinking about it. Have you thought about what others may notice if they see you outside of your usual habitat?

For example, a motivational speaker with a wonderful reputation was seen rudely chewing out a hotel clerk on the day of her presentation. The audience members who happened to see this were startled by the disappointing contrast from how she portrayed herself from the platform.

When we act a certain way in one situation and completely different in another, we emit conflicting messages. We may think that no one notices, but eventually you’ll be caught in your incongruity.

Good leaders need to present themselves consistently, whether it’s in the board room or walking their dog. Frankly, it’s harder on you if you wear different masks. How do you know “who” is going to show up?

This can be exhausting. It’s much easier (and less stressful) to be essentially the same person, regardless of the situation. Identify a few positive characteristics of your personality and see how they are reflected in different scenarios.

If you want to improve your consistency, don’t make dozens of changes at once. As soon as you’re under stress, you’ll topple under the weight of changes that haven’t been organically integrated.

Instead, add one change. Consciously work on it until it’s second nature. Then try another adjustment. Gradual integration will lead to a more successful outcome.

The good news is that you’ll notice subtle differences, and the better news is that others will perceive them as well.

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