Let’s explore the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
How susceptible are you to taking in what others tell you at work about situations or others you work with, whether they be clients, prospective clients, colleagues or other contacts? You see it is very human to take on the view of others and indeed this can sometimes be very helpful information to have.
However, all information that could be subjective should be considered, but not allowed to affect our behaviour with that person or in the relevant meeting, until we know if it is valid for ourselves.
Take the example of me running a workshop for a law firm, imagine if the Partner who has invited me in warns me that ‘Jane’ doesn’t really want to have to attend and it is likely she’ll be fairly obstructive in the workshop. If I take this fully on-board, how I am likely to modify my behaviour and how I run the workshop? Probably a little defensively, I’ll be waiting for difficulties and unlikely to be my usual self, whilst running the workshop. This is then likely to affect how the group respond to me.
Whilst what the Partner said may be valid information and it may be good to think about how I deal with challenges and the reality that I am used to dealing with them and this day will be no different, the useful thing is to listen to the information, consider it but resolve to act as usual. After all, the Partner and ‘Jane’ may have a particular discord between them, so that is just the Partner’s perception of how ‘Jane’ will be in a workshop, in reality she might not be like that at all. Yet, if I employ my defensive behaviour, the workshop won’t be as good, not only for ‘Jane’ but the whole group.
The same can happen regarding beliefs we have about ourselves, if we are going to a meeting on a topic that we feel we are anxious about and lack confidence, that is likely to affect everything from our speech – perhaps we’ll speak more quietly and/or quickly, to our body language – maybe we’ll own our space less than usual and look more defensive through our posture and expressions. This will communicate to other people that we aren’t comfortable in this situation, so they will react accordingly in the meeting, perhaps not involving us as much or even giving ‘constructive’ feedback after, both of which can reconfirm our original belief, which may not even be true. This is called the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
So what beliefs are holding you back at work? Which relationships are stuck in a less than positive groove due to previous happenings or beliefs? With increased seniority, positive personal relationships and confidence in all professional scenarios become even more important. If you want to understand how you could be being perceived at work and what is holding you back from the full potential of your career, contact me for a no obligation Career Booster conversation. I have helped many individuals progress their careers.
To read my comprehensive guide to ‘office politics’ click here.