Why Did I Get That Feedback?
How do others form impressions of us, and how do we form impressions of ourselves and our performance?
Others see us differently than we see ourselves.
My history professor used to say that those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. I feel the same way about how people form impressions and make attributions about behavior. Understanding this process helps us answer the question, “Why do others think of me that way?” Understanding how impression formation and attribution work also helps us make the process work for us instead of against us.
The perceptions others have about us are real. People cannot be talked out of their impressions. Those impressions are created from what they observe and experience.
To change the impression another person has of you, you must change your behavior.
Sometimes the impressions others have of us, though real to them, are not absolutely accurate. The focus is not on attacking them for their inaccuracy—since we can’t talk them out of their impressions—but on working on ourselves. By understanding and working with the attribution process, we can create for others a more accurate perception.
It is amazing how quickly we form impressions of others. Based on very limited information, we might conclude, “This person is honest and can be trusted,” or, “This person is dishonest and cannot be trusted.” Recently published studies show that people ...