Keeping Up Appearances


How many people know the real you? Last year, we asked 668 people to rank, on a scale of 1-10, how well their friends, spouse, coworkers, boss and others knew them. They answered as follows:

8.96 – Spouse or significant other
7.95 – Friends
7.55 – Mother
7.09 – Father
6.88 – Therapist
6.16 – Colleagues
5.62 – Boss

Although it intuitively makes sense, why is it that your friends and family would know you better than your boss or coworkers? After all, a UK poll of 2,500 people showed respondents spent an average of 44 waking hours with their colleagues, compared to only 34 waking hours with their partners, not to mention their friends and families. The only logical assumption, then, is that we’re not always our genuine selves.

Managing the impressions we make on others is an important skill. We pay attention to our hygiene and appearance, we show up to work on time, and we do our best not to offend our coworkers. And research shows that individuals who scored high on a measure of self-monitoring were more likely to get promoted and have a successful career than their less tactful counterparts.

Problem is, self-presentation and self-regulation are emotionally taxing, and since the average person spends 99,117 hours at work over his or her lifetime, odds are at some point you’ll let your guard down. And when you do, you may find the impressions you make are less than flattering.

“When you’re being yourself, when you stop self-monitoring, is when we see what we call dark-side personality characteristics emerge,” said Dr. Jeff Foster, Hogan’s VP of Science. “Even though they only tend to show up in times of stress, pressure, or boredom, they can be extremely damaging to your reputation.”

To find out more about how your dark side can impact your reputation and career, check out our complimentary ebook, “11 Ways to Wreck your Career”.