"I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I donÕt know."
Mark Twain

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 289

Estimated reading time:  1.45 minutes


At a function last evening, a friend mentioned the Dunning-Kruger effect. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect 


I had not heard of it before, but had experienced its implications. Simply put, the Dunning-Kruger effect observes that some of us are not able to see our own incompetence at something, and believe then that we are much more competent at the something than everyone else. 


Take driving, for example. How many of us are convinced that we are the best drivers on the road and that everyone else is the bad driver? 


For leaders, the Dunning Kruger effect is quite dangerous. I remember being told by a boss early on that the trick to managing was to exude confidence, even to the point of making things up. “You cannot ever show them that you don’t know,” he told me. Even then I knew that was questionable advice at best. Yes, being confident is important, but “making stuff up” will eventually cost you your credibility.


To prevent the Dunning-Kruger effect from messing with your leadership, consider the humility effect. You will be a much better leader by listening to people and then making your decisions. Listening requires a certain humility. You will be a much better leader by creating space for others to shine. Creating space for others to shine requires humility. You be a much better leader by being self-aware, knowing what your strengths and challenges are, and working to build your strengths and mitigate your challenges. Real self-awareness requires humility.



May this week be filled with listening, creating space and learning about ourselves.