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What You Say and What They Hear

As in writing, what the author intends and what the reader interprets can be two different things. Perceptions are important and we need to understand how they work. There is a huge amount of inference that occurs between our thoughts and another person’s understanding of those thoughts. People listen to us talk about vision, but they see and hear it through a filter of experience. Whatever we say and do goes through the filter of reality. We filter information and do not even know it is happening. How this translates into leadership behavior. Quite simply, we need to be aware of the many perceptual distortions that the brain offers in the interest of generating meaning. We need to know how people perceive our actions. Everyone functions through a series of perceptual filters, all of which are designed to serve our highest good and to provide meaningful focus around what we find to be important. Our perception is largely focused on that which we have chosen to see over time. And it is important to us, as leaders, to recognize that our brains are filling in the details, and that our perception is just that—our perception.

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