There are different sides to every person; different perceptions to every personality. How a daughter perceives her mother is different from how the house help perceives the same woman as her boss. How the first lady sees her husband is different from how the minister or average citizen sees the President. The closer you are to someone, the more sides you discover, considering the dynamics of your relationship to him/her.
I once went to a hair salon where I perceived the owner to be this smiling, sweet and calm lady and witnessed her shouting at her new apprentice for being dull. From the look on the poor woman’s face, it was going to be a long hard day for her. It then dawned on me that for every single person two people meet, they leave with different impressions of that person. We tend to be nice to those we need to be in their good graces like our clients but a little cold to those we deem dispensable.
Are you a nice person, do people consider you to be nice? Are you a boss? Do your subordinates see you as terrible? Is there a disconnect between who you really are and what others think of you? Do we assume that the perception we hold of someone is the same as another person’s? Will you be offended if you heard a less pleasant remark about who you are although it may not be entirely false?
I’ve come to realize that one cannot be totally nice or completely mean. We all have our ‘persons’ who get to see our good sides and others who get privileged to see snippets of it. Even the meanest boss could be the romantic man his wife has ever seen. As much as we would love people to see our good sides and calls us pleasant and good company, it is nearly impossible.
This doesn’t mean that we should give up on portraying our best selves to the people we come across every day. It is good to draw boundaries with people we interact with. The fact that you want to come off as an approachable boss doesn’t mean you should allow your staff to enter your office with idle talk especially within working hours. In the same vein, the fact that you want the whole world to know you are principled in your ways doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show compassion and try to put yourself in the third party’s shoes from time to time.
At the end of the day, we all get to that point where we are nice people but terrible bosses. But when we are to sum your life up from the words of everyone you’ve ever met, what do you think you would be called?
© Josephine Amoako 2017
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