You ain't as smart as you think you are

Overconfidence strikes all of us at one time or another.

Multiple studies of managers show that a majority of managers overestimate their own ability to perform. And, as a result, they might be capable to getting themselves and their teams into trouble.

Psychologists call this the “overconfidence effect.”

According to the author Rolf Dobeli, writing in Psychology Today, the overconfidence effect “measures the difference between what people really know and what they think they know.”

Dobeli, who wrote "The Art of Thinking Clearly," advises, “Be aware that you tend to overestimate your knowledge.”

For managers, it means to be on guard. You can do so in three ways.

  1. Question assumptions. Look for what is propping up your arguments. Is it valid? Has it been tested by others?
  2. Look for skeptics. Surround yourself with people who will disagree with you. Make it safe for them to push back. Challenge them to examine your assumptions.
  3. Ask for feedback. Invite people to let you know how you are doing. Encourage them to be specific. Good managers create feedback loops where there is continuous discussion about what happened, is happening and will happen next.

Overconfidence may be part of management today but savvy managers are those to keep it in check.

John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2018, Trust Across America honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Trust. Also in 2018, Inc.com named Baldoni a Top 100 Leadership Speaker. In 2019, Global Gurus ranked him No. 9 on its list of top 30 global experts, a list he has been on since 2007. In 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 50 leadership experts. Baldoni is the author of 14 books, including“MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership” and his newest, "GRACE: A Leader’s Guide to a Better Us." Learn more about why he wrote "GRACE" in this short video.

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