The male lion isn’t the smartest animal in the jungle. Apes, Elephants and Parrots are more intelligent. He is neither the largest animal nor the largest cat. The tiger is. He isn’t the fastest animal or even the fastest cat. The cheetah is. He isn’t even the hunter among his own pride. It’s the female lions that track and subdue prey.
Then, why is the lion considered the king of the jungle? It is because he has an impressive mane and a big roar.
This doesn’t mean the lion is a fraud. If called upon, he can back up that roar. However, what makes the lion special is the combination of genuine power and behavior that effectively communicates that power to the world.
If we want to be lions – that is to say, the “kings and the queens” of our own profession – we need to adopt the same approach. Those of us who are on the path to corporate leadership should spend time perfecting the types of communication skills that generate respect and influence others.
People reach highly influential positions because they understand the power of perception and know how to leverage on it. They use these skills to establish how they are perceived by others and to manage their reputation throughout the organization, stake holders and the public.
A few years back perception management was the lowest priority on my list. “Actions speak louder than words” people heard me saying. “Reality shapes perceptions” I thought naively. I have changed my mind.
The way we are perceived is the reality in the eyes of our colleagues, friends, managers and definitely the media. Abraham Lincoln said, “Public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed”.
The biggest potential mistake is confusing perception with manipulation. We will achieve nothing by manipulating others to follow our ideas, beliefs, or vision. Once we shift from being someone who influences through manipulation to being someone who influences through persuasion, we can’t lose.
To ensure the respect of our peers, employees, bosses and eventually the general public, we can use the power of branding to further our careers and personal goals. How do we improve the way we are perceived by others? How do we build a strong personal brand?