How Do They Describe You?

This is not a setup to a joke, but… A funny thing happened at work the other day.

Apparently, a couple of interns were talking with some of my team members when referring to me one said, “Where is that funny guy?” And the other quickly added, “With the spikey hair.”

Funny guy with the spikey hair. Hmmmmm.

My team members responded, “You mean our boss?” And they immediately became embarrassed for not remembering my name. They then asked my team not to relay the story to me, and…well since I am blogging about it…you can see how that worked out for them.

Of course, I had a little fun with them about it over the following days. After all, there are much worse things to be called.

While a hilarious situation, it really leads to a great point.

How do people describe you?

In my situation, the interns couldn’t remember my name, so they had to describe me to others based upon my actions and characteristics. They used the adjective “funny”, which isn’t too bad in my eyes, because they could have always said, “the guy that tries to be funny”. And they called out the fact that I had hair, which at my age is becoming more and more of a plus.

The use of these descriptors highlighted not only how the interns perceive me, but also the characteristics that stand out that make me unique.

So, how do people describe you?

What are the characteristics that you display that people remember? That set you apart? That you are known for?

Do they describe you in positive or negative terms?

Are you funny, hard working, caring, friendly, approachable, creative, crazy (good), humble, driven, savvy, or imaginative?

Or do people see you as condescending, stressed, arrogant, wishy-washy, unfriendly, or jerky? Yes. Jerky (not as in the edible dried meat product, but as someone they don’t want to be around).

I definitely would have been concerned if they would have said, “Where is that jerky guy with the spikey hair?”

Whether you have relatively little interaction with people or lots, how you act and treat them predominately forms the basis of how they see and perceive you. And after all, their perception is their reality. And its this reality that they share with others.

So, as a leader, be self-aware. Know how people describe and perceive you. This is a  very important skill to develop.  If you don’t know how people see you, then ask. Find some trusted colleagues, a mentor, a boss, or others and ask. If you don’t like what you hear, then do something about it.

How do they describe you?


5 Responses to How Do They Describe You?

  1. Great article, Jason, and I do have to agree that you ARE a funny guy with spikey hair; however, there are a few other adjectives that I would use to describe you: intelligent, caring, motivated, grateful and selfless. I still hang onto the note you left on my desk that simply reads, “I am thankful for you”. I’m truly grateful for all the knowledge and inspiration you’ve shared with me over the years – it’s extremely refreshing to have your leadership style in the mix at our organization!

    • Jason says:

      Thanks Andrea. I definitely wasn’t fishing for compliments, but appreciate them. As you know, one of the greatest gifts we can share is JOY! And it is a joy to work, talk, and interact with you! Thanks for taking the time to read the posts and share your thoughts! -J

  2. Kim Tisdale says:

    So true. Someone is always watching and listening. Are they seeing the image we want them to see? I participated in a Reach360 exercise. It was interesting and enlightening to see how people described me.

    We really enjoy and gain new insights from your blog. Thank you for sharing.

    Thanks much.

    • Jason says:

      Thanks Kim! 360 degree exercises are often enlightening. I know I have learned a few things through them (and not always good things). They definitely help make us better and I appreciate those people that were courageous enough to give me some honest feedback. Thank you for reading the blog and sharing your comments! -J

  3. Pingback: Thanks for a Great 2011! « The Leader's Locker

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