Rakesh was walking down a street one evening when he spotted a girl helping an old woman cross the road. He immediately concluded that this girl is a helpful person. The very next day, he spots the same girl throwing stones at a puppy. His perception immediately changes and he assumes she is a malicious person who hurts animals.
What we just witnessed is the “halo effect”. In other words, it is the act of jumping to conclusion about someone after one instance. It is when you draw an overall impression of someone just by a general inference you have gained about them. This effect is often witnessed in the workplace by team leaders and employees alike.
If it is your first day and you find someone who excels during your first meeting, you would assume they are always good at meetings. If someone is sick and doesn’t participate much in the session, you would assume they are always silent and rarely participate. These conclusions have been drawn by just your first impression of those people, even before you got to know them!
Why is this advantageous?
Leaders have found the halo effect a useful way to earn the trust of their peers and employees. By using the right strategies, they can project themselves better to their prospective clients as well.
People often judge you by your physical appearance as well as your actions and mindset. By keeping these in check while offering a first impression and projecting yourself as a confident leader, you can gain loyalty and respect.
Your actions and behaviors create a halo around you. This helps people create an overall impression of you that helps them perceive your goals, mindset, strategies, skills, competencies, and other aspects. In a way, we could say the halo effect is a cognitive bias that leads to incomplete or inaccurate perceptions.
“This could also lead to delusion at times. I knew a colleague who drove sales for our company and achieved all his targets. We always assumed he understood clients well and utilized the company’s assets properly. However, he stumbled once while handling a high-profile client during an important meeting. This immediately changed our team’s perception of him and overnight, he lost the reputation he had earned. The team began to gossip about him saying the success had gone to his head and he had begun to neglect his clients. My point is the halo effect can not only be earned quickly but it can also be lost just as abruptly. To stay ahead of the game, one needs to be self-aware and play his cards right,” said a sales rep from a reputed agency in Chennai.
How to use the halo effect effectively
If you are a leader who interacts with various people every day, you might have to combat certain delusions to keep your halo intact. It gets easier to combat delusions when you know what to watch out for. With that said, what sort of delusions are we talking about?
Some people have misconceptions that leaders achieve enduring success by following tried and tested methods. Once a leader, always a leader – this gives people less scope to experiment and make mistakes they can learn from. It stops people from trying new things and breaking out of the norm to take risks.
Furthermore, people tend to expect enduring good performance and excellence from leaders as they follow a set algorithm or formula to succeed. This is not true as leaders cannot be predictable. They are humans too and every human being can learn and grow only by making mistakes.
In other words, the delusion of lasting success is one of the main things leaders with the halo effect need to combat. Read on to know how you can bring your A-game to the table every single day!
Have a routine
You might notice that successful people who deliver high performance always follow a solid routine. They have a set of habits that have proven successful which they follow daily. Try to find a routine that suits you and helps you stick to your goals. This will help leaders repeat the actions that formed the halo effect while still breaking out of the norm and experimenting.
“As a leader, I would always begin my day by sharing a thoughtful message in our team’s group. It projects me as a positive person who motivates his team and encourages growth. With this routine step out of the way, I proceed to do different things and try new habits every day. I could make a mistake or a wrong decision which would help me grow. But my team needn’t know about it and begin to draw false conclusions,” said the team leader of a marketing firm in Bangalore.
Stay consistent but not predictable. You could project your A game to your team and customers while practicing a self-development hustle on the side. The point is to not take your success for granted. Yes, you have used the halo effect to your advantage, but this doesn’t mean it is ever-lasting.
Consistency is key to meeting your expectations and also the company’s. Foresee trends and changes to predict how your leadership style should be. At the same time, accept the fact that there will be factors that are out of your control. The key is to bring your best performance to the table and keep growing while handling these uncontrollable factors around you. The tricky part is to not let your halo effect break by letting these little out-of-control aspects slip.
Speak to like-minded individuals
Speaking to people who seem to project a similar halo effect or those who are moving towards the same goals as you can help you focus. As a leader, figure out what the big picture is and what you can influence to make things play to your advantage. Analyze what makes you successful by speaking to people with similar mindsets.
“I either see myself in the other person and identify my strengths or I spot assets they have that I don’t. This either helps me continue good habits or learn new ones from other successful minds. At one instance, I noticed a colleague clapping his hands while making points. It was irritating and seemed to be a nervous reaction which the colleague thought made him look confident. While turning this over in my head, I realized I do the same thing. I perform the same mannerism often when I wish to look in charge and prove a point. This helped me identify something I do which didn’t project me in the way I thought it did,” said a successful strategist at an agency in Chennai.
Understand what people see in you
You might think your thought process and confidence make people turn to you in crucial situations. But in reality, it could be your physical appearance playing a role in their perception of you. People tend to trust leaders with loud voices and broad shoulders, often even before they have made an acquaintance.
The point is to understand what people see in you and what has caused the halo to form around you in the first place. What makes you look intelligent, attractive, confident, successful, or popular? Yes, the halo effect sounds unpredictable, but it isn’t entirely out of your hands.
Since we now know what the halo effect means, it is time to use it to our advantage. Figure out what makes you successful and what caused people to create a halo around your head. It will help you stay consistent and stick to your assets. At the same time, it will help you spot your weaknesses and either avoid them or correct them.
You can leverage your strengths and create a sustainable way of providing customers and employees with better experiences. One key element is to understand if you can sustain the reason that formed a halo for you. If it is something you did only once in your life but people wrongly perceived it to be a regular trait, try to get the facts straight before people see through you.
If you are a leader who wishes to learn more about this concept and use it to your advantage, click here. It is always the right time to begin growing and creating a positive influence on those around you!