Perception & Self Image

letters on wooden cubes


Have you ever participated in a 360 assessment? This is an assessment where you assess yourself and those who work with you – in 360 degrees around you – also give you feedback. That means your boss, your direct reports, your peers, your clients, and your colleagues have an opportunity to participate. It is an incredible process. Exciting and scary! There is tremendous value in learning how others perceive you.

I went through – it is definitely something you go through – one of these 360 feedback assessments several years ago. The primary positive feedback drew a picture of me as a rock. Yes, a rock! Sturdy, dependable, reliable, strong Mary – that’s me. I was so disappointed. To me it evoked the highest level of boring. I didn’t want to be a rock. I wanted to be a shooting star. I want to be seen as creative, engaging, etc.

The feedback suggesting areas needing improvement was brutal. Apparently, I made up my mind regarding how to solve a problem before asking my team for their input. This is defeating for the team. I cried, and I knew it was true. Even though the feedback came to me many years ago, I continue to work on this aspect of my personality now. I have improved, and I am constantly evaluating my behavior. How did I do today? Did I listen to the suggestions of others with an open mind?

As a leader, that piece of feedback was absolute gold for me. I now see it as an invaluable gift that helps me concentrate on my biggest passion – helping other people achieve their goals.

I have guided many of my clients through this kind of feedback process. In the end, they are grateful for the feedback they received, even if it was hard to take. Sometimes though, learning about areas for improvement can push you off your path. It can negatively impact self image and confidence.

Keep this in mind: Hold onto the positives of your self image and realize feedback will help you become even better.

Keep this in mind: Most of the feedback will be positive. Embrace it! It is very human to focus on the constructive feedback more than the positive feedback. It is a good thing that my team, boss, and clients perceived me as dependable. It means they felt they could depend on me.

If you are planning to gather feedback, here are some tips to help you keep things in perspective. Grab your journal or your favorite notepad for this. Settle down into a comfortable and comforting space. Supply yourself with your favorite drink or music.:

  • Before taking a self-assessment or diving into a 360 assessment, make a list of the traits in your personality that you view as positive. Make a list of one or two traits that you believe you need to change or be managed more closely.
  • Now write down your goal for participating in the assessment. What do you want to achieve? Why is it important to you now?
  • Decide. It is very important to decide that this assessment is what you want right now.
  • Commit. Commit to keeping an open mind and to taking action based on the results of the assessment. Commit to yourself.
  • Make sure you have someone – a coach or someone who is certified to administer the assessment – on board to walk you through the results and interpretation of the results.
  • When looking at the results, have that list of positive traits and areas for improvement that you wrote down with you. Remember who you are. Think about who you want to be.
  • When the perception of who you are is not in line with who you believe you are, it is clear you need to make some changes. Plan. Pick just one area for improvement and take action.
  • After three months, look at your progress.

Feedback is a gift. When you receive it, be sure to thank those who gave it to you. Be you, and improve.

For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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