Overconfidence has become a management trend today, according to many studies.
A new manager believed he was ready to lead a $25M dollar project, even though he had never run a $1M project before. He sold himself by making bold promises and embellishing his skills. 60 days later he was fired and wanted to know why. He hired a coach and learned he had management potential, but, he lacked the managerial experience required to manage a diverse team. Later, he found why. His team hadn’t trusted him and disregarded everything he said. They believed he was, “too full of himself.” In other words, he was overconfident in his skills and abilities.
The overconfidence dynamic happens when managers overestimate their abilities to perform and deliver. When they fail, they are sidelined or fired without understanding the specific reasons why. To develop awareness, they need to set aside their I-got-this-handled attitudes. Then, listen, be coachable, and develop true inner confidence. (Hint: inner confidence is not based on ego or feelings; it’s based on a proven track record)
Are You Overconfident?
Awareness and mindfulness are important. At times, everyone has been or will be overconfident in their life and career. Learn to recognize and adjust the words or actions that signal you’re being overconfident. If you don’t, it may be your downfall.
Be honest about your skills. Take the time to conduct an accurate assessment of yourself. This includes talking with co-workers, bosses, customers, and vendors (a 360-degree review). Also, use a scientifically validated job fit assessment. This type of assessment goes beyond how you want to be seen. It provides objective insights into your strengths, skills, and abilities needed to excel as a leader or boss.
Stop comparing yourself with others. Too often, when you see someone make a mistake, you may become arrogant and believe you would never make a similar mistake. This is one important example of being overconfident and lacking empathy.
Test your assumptions before declaring your decision. Too often we make important judgments and decisions based on fragments of information. We fail to deep dive objectively into the pros and cons. Contact your network! 90% of the world’s information is in people’s heads, not the internet. Questions to get answered: Why did it work for that company? What are the differences between the companies? What is the “insider” information? This kind of analysis can help you make confident decisions.
Listen to others’ feedback and concerns. While it may seem easier to only focus on the positives, a healthy skepticism has saved many people’s careers and financial outcomes. All feedback is valuable.
Recognize when it’s the right time. While many ideas may be viable with modifications, it may not be the right time or place to put them into action. Beware if you’ve mulled an idea around in your head too long, it may no longer make a positive difference.
How to Work with Overconfident Managers
Stay aware and mindful in conversations. Listen up when your manager’s decision impacts you, your project, team, budget, etc. Ask good open-ended questions to learn how the decision was made.
Stand up and speak up. While it’s important to be assertive in these situations, diplomacy is critical. Remember, you may be right…but, overconfident bosses may ignore you in the future if their ego feels threatened.
If their idea or assertion does not impact you, avoid confrontation. Choose which issues to pursue. Otherwise, when a major issue needs to be resolved, overconfident managers will not be open to listening to you.
While we’ve all experienced overconfidence at one time or another, learn from the above strategies to avoid downfalls and create healthy inner confidence.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2019
Jeannette Seibly has been a champion for people achieving results for the past 26 years. As an award-winning coach, she has helped 100s of bosses create more fun, 6-figure incomes, and success when working through confusing situations. Develop a healthy inner-confidence by contacting Jeannette for straight talk with dynamic results.
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