Six months back, due to transfer of a colleague, a new person joined in my team. The team in which I work comprises of four people and we work very closely and share responsibilities. Due to shared projects and responsibility, we had developed an understanding to assist each other if the work is pending with anyone. However, the transfer of one of the team member and introduction of a new colleague disturbed the dynamics of our team. The day we were introduced to our new team member, I noticed him looking apparently disinterested in initiating conversation. His conversation with us was limited to work-related queries and he replied in monosyllables. Our attempts to make him comfortable in our team were not successful and he focused on his work only.
Once, he and I were working on a project together and as per my resolution, I remain concerned with my part of work. However, due to some urgency I couldn’t finish my part of report and was worried about the delay in project. However I was surprised to know that my colleague completed the entire project on his own and never mentioned it in front of our boss. I was moved by this behavior and this incident made me realize my mistake. I used the early judgment approach as stated by Nilsson et al (2008) to judge my colleague. As stated by Smith & Collins (2009), the perception of the person impacts the cognitive process linked with selection of information and its interpretation by the perceiver and I also demonstrated this behavior by assuming my colleague to be rude and arrogant. Due to individual differences, I interpreted the schemas of my colleague differently (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears 2006, p. 89).
I completely agree with my colleagues post on the automatic interference derived from the positive attitude of the person (Laraine, Uleman & Cunniff, 1985) as the schemas makes a person infer quickly (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears 2006, p. 90). Sometime back I had to pacify an irate customer and I greeted him with a smile and showed genuine concern through my expressions like nodding of head and listening attentively. I also quoted back the client’s word while conversing and all this had the positive effect on the customer who gradually became satisfied that his complaints are being taken care of. The customer I mention here must have related my behavior as automatic inference and as the circumstances for making inferences were limited, the schematic inference of my being concerned was made quickly by the customer (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears 2006, p. 89). There are several factors like body language, gestures and eye contact which enable others to infer from the acts of the person. The body language of the person plays an important role in depicting the interest and concern of the person. The direct eye contact establishes the direct approach followed by person and averting the eye gaze usually implies that the person is either lying or hiding something. The social psychology of every culture differs (Chiu & Hong, 2006) and in our culture, direct eye contact with women is considered inappropriate and while making eye contact, men should be looking little downside and not be gazing full in the eyes of women.
The person about whom the colleague shared the post was aware of the power of acts of a person and the possible inferences from them, based on the heuristic of representativeness (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears 2006, p. 82). Hence, the person was perceived as friendly on the basis of natural contours (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears 2006, p. 87).
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