While working for a startup, Priyanka developed a habit of doing things her own way. She was proactive and confident in taking the lead on different projects.

However, her organization underwent a change in management, following which Priyanka’s perception of her workplace also shifted. What was once an informal and autonomous setup turned into a hierarchical structure. Now, she had to report to her senior manager, work collaboratively and follow a chain of command.

In a professional setting, there are things you can control and things you can’t. So understanding what affects your perception—or the way you interpret your surroundings—may help you sail smoothly toward your career goals.

How Do You Define Perception?

Perception is the way we understand or interpret the things that are happening around us.

For instance, we find it easier to communicate with our friends and family because we trust them and they trust us.

The Importance Of Perception

The importance of perception is that it helps us:

  • add value and meaning to our immediate surroundings

  • understand our environment

  • make the right decisions for ourselves

The Characteristics Of Perception

That said, there are several characteristics of perception you should note:

  • It is both subjective and objective

  • It is shifting, not permanent

  • It is selective

  • It is a result of past experiences

  • It is driven by motivations and interests

What Are The Factors Influencing Perception?

Our ideas, opinions and actions are usually responses to something else. It may be a person or a situation that makes us think a certain way. Perception may even be negative, which can have adverse effects in the workplace.

One’s attitudes, motivations, expectations, behavior and interests are some of the factors affecting perception. Let’s explore these factors with examples to understand the importance of perception in a professional setting.

  1. Individual Differences

Every person is unique and brings different attitudes to a team. You may work well when collaborating with others while your coworker prefers to work in isolation. Each of these differences affects your perception of your team and organization. You’ll behave differently when you’re working with your colleague as opposed to someone else. Your perception of your coworker shapes the way you work as well. In the workplace, it’s necessary to respect these differences and work with others to create harmony.

  1. Motivations

Say you want to work for a few years and gain enough experience to get into business school for an MBA. Your motivations will impact your perception of your work. You’re more likely to make just enough effort to work well, get positive feedback and fulfill your requirements. So, our motivations affect the way we approach a situation. When it comes to teamwork, each member’s motivations will be different. But to achieve collective goals, management has to bring everyone on the same page and communicate their expectations.

  1. Organizational Behavior

For Priyanka, her informal organization transformed into a traditional hierarchical office. Her behavior as a professional had to change to accommodate her external environment. When you’re working with others and aiming to accomplish long-term goals, you have to meet them halfway. An organization’s values, mission and beliefs are important factors influencing perception.

  1. Past Experiences

Our past experiences shape us into who we are today. We can’t separate ourselves from them. Past experiences are also significant factors influencing perception. They shape our personal biases and opinions as well as our expectations from others and ourselves. It’s important to be open to changing our perceptions when situations change. For instance, the Earth wasn’t always considered to be round.

  1. External Factors

Perception isn’t only affected by internal or personal factors. External factors affecting perception can include what people think of us, others’ expectations and cultural norms such as taboos or rules followed by society.

The importance of perception is that it helps us define who we are, where we’re headed and what we can do to be better. If you can learn to change your perception of others by understanding them, you’ll build meaningful relationships at work.

It’s important to learn more about the factors affecting perception and the characteristics of perception to better understand others. Harappa’s Decoding Others course will enable you to avoid the trap of first impressions. You’ll learn how to be more sensitive to people and your surroundings. Perceive the world as it is and respond to it appropriately to achieve your goals!


Explore topics such as What is EmpathyHow to be EmpatheticEmpathy at Workplace & Three-Step Process for Reading People from Harappa Diaries and develop critical work skills that will help you deal with different types of people.

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